Chengdu's taxi industry is about to get an upgrade, reported the West China City Daily.
And by "upgrade," we mean that drivers will be able to speak standard Mandarin, basic English, and drive any color of cab they want — not just the green Volkswagens currently zipping down the city streets.
The transportation committee announced yesterday that Chengdu residents will be able to enjoy "more comfortable and considerate" service under their new star-ranking system.
Under the plan, which the committee expects will go into effect next year, all taxi operators will receive a star ranking, with five stars being the highest.
A draft of the plan has been submitted to the relevant authorities for review.
Taxi operators that receive the highest star rankings will employ drivers who achieve at least a 90 percent "excellency ranking," meaning they can speak standard Mandarin and basic English, offer booking services over the phone, and can accommodate disabled passengers as well.
In addition, taxi operators would receive great tax benefits the higher the ranking they achieve.
Under the scheme, taxi operators who receive a five-star ranking would be able to choose any body color for their vehicles so that passengers can distinguish among different providers at a glance. Such a scheme is already in effect in other cities, such as Shanghai.
This won't be the first time Chengdu cab exteriors have undergone a makeover: In 1990, Chengdu cabs were all red Suzuki Altos; in 2001, those began to be replaced by green and blue Volkswagen Jettas; and in 2008, a new fleet of silver-trimmed light green vehicles was introduced.