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December 21, 2012

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Driving school price hikes monitored

SHANGHAI authorities said they will closely monitor driving schools for illegal price hikes as many plan to increase the fares soon as new driving license regulation go into effect.

The new regulations add test items for learners, who face stricter standards. Local driving schools said this also can be expected to cause prices to rise as their costs increase.

Many schools said it is necessary that prices go up.

"It's not a question of whether the prices will be raised," said a manager with one local school. "It's a question how much we will increase."

The city's reform and development commission said the driving schools' price adjustments are mainly market oriented, which are based on each school's operational costs and other factors.

But the schools should make the details of the fare lists available to the students, said officials.

The watchdog will target any arbitrary charges.

The expected hike, however, has made many people try to get in under the wire.

"I had already learned that the schools would raise the prices, so I signed up ahead this year," said a learner, surnamed Xu.

Xu paid about 4,500 yuan (US$722), while the price is likely to jump to 6,000 to 7,000 yuan next year, Xu was told.

Wei Xinzheng, deputy general manager with Shanghai Dazhong driving school, said "cost increases and prolonged learning periods are the main reason for the price hike."


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