With the recent hubbub over rumored taxi-fare hikes, Chengdu's reporters are all abuzz with taxi scandals and outrages.
Here are summarized and translated excerpts from an "undercover investigation" carried out by a Chengdu Evening Post reporter.
Shift-changing time is at 7 a.m. and 12 noon. But many drivers stop picking up passengers an hour before the shift-changing time in order to finish work earlier. Unfortunately, for many office workers, that's rush hour and when they most need a cab to get to work on time.
Drivers told the reporter that they frequently refuse passengers during rush hour because trips into the city will "waste time" and prevent them from picking up a high number of passengers (which is much more lucrative than making one long trip). To avoid any trips into the city center, they'll make any sort of excuse they can come up with: They're waiting for another passenger, they're on their way home, they road is one-way, they can take only a certain (and much longer) route at that time.
In another incident, a driver charged the reporter RMB30 to go from the North Train Station to the second section of Hong Xing Lu—normally an RMB18 cab ride. The driver refused to use the meter or take any lower than RMB30. At the end of the journey, this driver said that he mistook the reporter for a student in a rush and thus agreed to go. But he wouldn't use the meter so that he wouldn't have to report it for taxes. He added that even if a passenger reports such an incident, the taxi company won't intervene, and in this way, the drivers can make an additional RMB700.
However, the Regulations on the Management of Chengdu City Passenger Taxicabs stipulates that any driver refusing to take a passenger during the shift-turnover period should be fined between RMB1,000 and RMB3,000.
In related news, starting July 1, all cabs will automatically issue receipts to passengers. Most cabs have already been outfitted with new machines to print receipts, which will display the times the passenger alighted and disembarked from the vehicle, the distance and price of the journey, the vehicle number, and contact information.
UPDATEAnd as of Tuesday it had been announced that cab driver who picked up the reporter but refused to use the meter has been fined RMB1,000 and is suspended from work for five days. Other drivers cited in the story are under investigation.
Previous article: Annie eats: World Cup Beer Snack - baked potatoes and tofu
Next article: New Chengdu PSB rules exclude foreigners from using 'net bars