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June 18, 2010

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Some cabbies use remote control to pad the fare

SOME local taxi drivers have found a new way to cheat the customers: Using a remote controller to manipulate the fare meters.

"The tricks are more concealed," said Wu Runyuan, a Shanghai Traffic Law Enforcement Team spokesman.

"It's also relatively difficult for passengers to detect the cheating via their own eyes and for us to collect evidence."

The traffic law enforcement team has suspended three drivers for rigging their meters in this way and is still investigating two other drivers for the same offense, traffic authorities said. Violators can't return to cab driving for at least five years.

During one check in late May, a suspect cabbie suddenly swallowed a little motor used on the meters.

The recently nabbed drivers were found on June 14 around a downtown five-star hotel after officials were tipped off.

The drivers had cheated passengers on rides to Pudong International Airport. The cabbies targeted tourists and newcomers, officials said.

"That's really a shame for the city," said Wu.

Drivers pay little for the devices, Wu said. "All they need is a controller and an extra wire attached to the meters."

The controller sends a pulse signal through the wire to make the meters run faster.

Local traffic authorities said they plan to improve the GPS installed in the taxi to quickly detect the contrivances.


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