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City set to upgrade taxi services

THE city's transport commission will improve taxi services through a package of measures, including optimizing the fare mechanisms of both green and red cabs. 

Other measures include establishing a credit rating system, improving the accessing and exiting mechanism, upgrading in-vehicle services and eliminating modified meters that rip off riders.

The authority will also pilot facial recognition technologies to match drivers with their taxis to tackle unlicensed driving. 

The present fare mechanism for green and red cabs was established in 2009 and hasn't kept up with new social developments especially after the emergence of app-based cabs. Green taxis are allowed to operate only outside the former special economic zone such as Bao'an and Longgang districts while red cabs can operate citywide.

The commission will complete the adjustment of cab fares based on the guidelines drafted at a hearing in December to unify fees for both green and red cabs. But it hasn't disclosed details regarding the unification of taxi fares. 

According to the drafts, the city will either maintain the flag-fall price unchanged, while increasing the waiting, empty return or distance charges to increase the income of drivers, or raise the flag-fall price to 13 yuan for the first 3 kilometers. Currently, the flag-fall price is 10 yuan for the first 2 kilometers for red cabs and 6 yuan for the first 1.5 kilomters for green cabs.

The drafts would adopt a cascading fare system for empty return fees, which charges an additional 30 percent for a distance of 25 to 50 kilometers and an additional 60 percent for a distance of more than 50 kilometers. 

The city will review the pricing mechanism in June every year and adopt a flexible system based on the operating costs of taxi companies.

In the first quarter, the city's public transport commission handled 2,355 complaints concerning taxis. Most complaints were about red cabbies rejecting riders and green cabbies ripping off customers with modified meters. 

On March 15, the bureau unveiled a list of 17 drivers who were disqualified for dishonest practices. Recently, the bureau unveiled a list of 165 drivers who had used modified meters to rip off riders.

The city currently has 84 companies operating 16,642 cabs. 

Source:Shenzhen Daily

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