Taxis in Shanghai get electronic identity cards
Updated: 2012-08-31 07:29
Taxis with duplicated license plates, or cloned taxis, can no longer ply the roads of Shanghai, since all 50,000 taxies have installed electronic operating permits. With the help of this new "identity card" attached at the top left of the taxis' windscreen, the police have arrested 271 illegal cabs in the first half of a crackdown named "Operation Eagle Eye".
Scanned by the personal digital assistant, or PDA terminal, vehicle information including the license plate number, engine number, color and operator's certificate can be read easily. Once a taxi is discovered to be lacking the electronic license or if the license fails to reveal the correct information, police investigate it to see whether it is a cloned cab.
Cloned taxis have been a plague in Shanghai for years. Usually they exacerbate heaving traffic by cramming the airport, railway stations and Shanghai's tourist attractions such as the Bund, Nanjing Road and Super Brand Mall. These illegal cabs not only gouge riders with heavy charges, but they compete maliciously with legal cabs.
A cloned taxi driver reportedly cut across roads and rammed a legal taxi, when a passenger wouldn't agree to the price of the ride and looked for another cab on August 6th. The passenger was badly injured. Traffic police later found the cloned cab to have been painted correctly with a seemingly genuine light, a meter and an anti-robbery board. "It's hard for passengers, or even traffic police to recognize the cloned cabs just by appearance," said a policeman. "Only an electronic license can have a say in that situation."
Four drivers of cloned taxies and one other who dealt with fake taxis operating permits have been taken into custody in the first seven months of Operation Eagle Eye. "The striking of illegal cabs is a long-term job and we will never tolerate criminals," said Cai Jingyan, the headman of Shanghai Transport Law Enforcement Corps.
(HK Edition 08/31/2012 page4)