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Police target illegal pick-a-fare cabbies

SHANGHAI traffic authorities ruled yesterday that city taxis with "out of service" signs on their rooftop lights can no longer park along roads inside Expo-controlled areas.

The local traffic law enforcement team tightened parking rules after it found that some cabbies intentionally refused short-trip passengers by showing a red light, meaning out of service, on the roof-top.

The rule effects the city's 50,000 taxis, officials said. Offenders will be fined, suspended from operations or have their license revoked.

Similar limits have been imposed at the city's eight major business and transport hubs.

Some drivers dodge passengers by manually controlling the roof-top light colors: green for available, red for not available.

If passengers ask for a long trip, the offending cabbies switch from green to red. The illegal refusal has been practiced by drivers on newcomers and visitors.

Passenger complaints have increased after the city's non-Expo taxis were allowed from 7pm into the controlled area to take passengers, having earlier been limited to after 9pm.

Traffic authorities - which set up eight cabstands near Expo entrances and exits to service visitors - have registered 500 infringements since May, including illegal operations and refusals.


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