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November 11, 2011

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8 taxi drivers caught in foreigner rip-off

EIGHT cabbies have been caught ripping off foreign visitors who had just arrived in Shanghai, the taxi watchdog said yesterday.

The recent crackdown centered on Longyang Road station in Pudong, where the Maglev line from Pudong International Airport terminates.

In one instance, on Wednesday morning, the city traffic law enforcement team followed a cab from the station to a downtown hotel and carried out a spot check.

They discovered the driver was using a tampered meter which recorded a 15-kilometer trip as 55 kilometers and charged 200 yuan (US$31), officials said.

Invoices he offered were also fake, officials added.

"The driver even used black tape to cover the taxi company and car number inside the car," said Xia Guoping, a squad leader with Pudong's traffic law enforcement team.

The driver was suspended, Xia said.

This crackdown followed an unsuccessful operation last week at the same station that netted no scamming cabbies. Officials believe the cabbies may have been tipped off.

Drivers stroll outside the waiting area and try to entice foreigners and out-of-towners to use their taxis, said witnesses.

"Some passengers would afterward report being overcharged," said Xia. "But it's difficult to collect proof."

Complaints have also been received of "cloned cabs" - cars modified with lights and meters to look like licensed taxis - operating around Longyang Road.

The team has received more than 200 complaints or reports of illegal operations at the station so far this year, ahead of other busy hubs such as Guanglan Road and Lujiazui in Pudong.

The lack of public transport to nearby big residential complex gives chances to the illegal operations in the area, officials said.

Team officials pledged that raids would continue.


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