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City cracks down on 'black taxi' operators

[ 2010-04-27 11:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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A crackdown on Beijing's black taxis - private vehicles illegally carrying passengers for money - kicked off on Monday in a bid to stop the disarray in public transportation and improve the capital's traffic system.

The crackdown, which will go through the end of the year, will concentrate on getting black taxis and three-wheeled motorcycles off the roads.

Wang Xin, a press officer from the Beijing public security administration, said the crackdown involves the police, the traffic control department, and industry and commerce administrators.

It was reported by Chinanews.com last year that Beijing has 66,000 registered taxis and 70,000 black taxis. Wang said the situation is rooted in the city's under-developed public transportation system.

Most black taxis are found in tourist areas, rural-urban fringe zones and suburban areas, a Beijing Daily report says.

Sun Jiangang, a driver from Xinyue Taxi Company, welcomed the crackdown, saying black taxis are disruptive to the city's transport system and "steal" business from the licensed taxis.

"The business is getting more and more competitive," said Sun, who has 17 years' experience driving a cab. "The government should have used such strong measures earlier."

Sun, who has noticed a jump in the number of unlicensed taxis in Beijing, said they bring no benefit to society. He said black taxis don't register with any government department and passengers have no rights, or are not covered by insurance, should there be any problems.

His words were echoed by Tan Jinjin, an East Fifth Ring Road resident. Tan has used unlicensed three-wheel taxis as they are cheaper and more convenient, but she is constantly worried about her safety.

However, a black taxi driver, who wanted to be identified only as Xia, told METRO he doubts the crackdown can reduce the number of unlicensed taxis.

Another driver, surnamed Ma, who has been driving a black taxi since he was laid off two years ago, said he was caught twice but got his car back both times after paying fines. Ma, who refused to say how much he was fined, said he had no choice but to risk driving an unlicensed taxi.

"It is too difficult to become a licensed taxi driver," Ma said. "You need to have a Beijing hukou first, and you need to have some social connections in order to get into the business. We often do business in remote areas not covered by public transport and where most licensed taxi drivers don't want to go."

Ma said he believes the growth of the black taxi business is linked to public demand.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

City cracks down on 'black taxi' operators

About the broadcaster:

City cracks down on 'black taxi' operators

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.