Business / Economy

A job that plays havoc with health

By Zheng Xin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-28 17:29

A job that plays havoc with health

Taxi driver Hao Haixu says he can earn even

 more than university graduates

as long as he works hard.

Zheng Xin / China Daily

Pulling his cab over to a taxi rank, Hao Haixu climbs out, stretches his legs and yawns after six hours straight behind the wheel.

"Being on my feet is a bit of a luxury," says Hao, 35, pushing up his sunglasses with his middle finger and rubbing his temples to ease the tension.

Another two cab drivers pull into the rank, in Beijing. One of them, a cigarette dangling from his lips, hums the theme tune of a popular TV drama. The other reclines in his driver's seat with a cap covering most of his face. It is time for a well-earned nap.

Hao, after graduating from a technical secondary school in Beijing, worked as a security guard in a shopping mall, as a delivery driver at the airport and as the chauffeur for a company boss before deciding to try his hand at driving a taxi two years ago, when he heard the pay was good.

"My son was born two years ago, and I felt like I needed to make more money to support the family. A friend told me a cabbie makes more money than a chauffeur, so I quit and got a taxi."

As a technical school student, the career he was embarking on was a step up financially, he says.

Hao says he works from 6 am until 8 pm every day. Of course, there are many drivers who work longer hours, but there are many who do not, too. He takes a short lunch break at a fast-food outlet, and the menu depends on where his last fare took him. Sometimes he eats in the restaurant, and sometimes in his car, feeling it reduces his time off the road.

"They say fast food is trash food, that it is unhealthy and that you get sick of the smell and taste after eating so much of it. But it's quick, relatively cheap at about 20 yuan ($3.20; 2.3 euros) a meal, and it's never far away."

Taxi drivers in Beijing are making more money now than they were when he began driving, he says, because the government has raised fares, and mobile applications for calling taxis have added an average of 1,000 yuan a month to drivers' income.

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