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Taxis to fare well after price change

By XU WEI | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-15 00:39

Drivers remain cautious over possible outcome of reform

Beijing will adjust taxis' fare system as part of a series of measures to ease the difficulty of hailing a taxi in the capital, the city's top transport official has announced.

The city government is seeking opinions from deputies of the municipal People's Congress, political advisers, transport experts, taxi companies and drivers over the price adjustments, said Liu Xiaoming, director of the Beijing Commission of Transport.

Liu said the reform is aimed at "straightening out the relationship between the fare mechanism and the interest of the industry".

He also hinted at a possible hike in taxi prices. The current taxi fare system in Beijing has been in place for seven years, while the prices in other major cities have been raised at least once during that period.

During the past seven years, the average income of taxi drivers in the capital rose by 15 percent, while Beijing's average income rose by 60 to 70 percent.

"This has resulted in a slump in the industry's attractiveness to employees, and many cabbies are unwilling to work during rush hour due to traffic congestions and high fuel prices," Liu said.

The pricing reform will mainly benefit taxi drivers, he said at a press briefing on Thursday.

The transport commission will also carry out tighter regulations for taxi drivers, including a blacklist of drivers who breached regulations and a system that compensates drivers during harsh weather.

The authority is also considering attracting better-educated staff to the industry, as 80 percent of the taxi drivers are former farmers from the city's suburban areas.

A public hearing on the price adjustments could also be held the Beijing Commission of Development and Reform. According to regulations, the hearing could take about 45 days.

The fare adjustment could be in place by June, Beijing Times reported, citing industry insiders.

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