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June 4, 2011

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Cabbies use device to tamper with meter

LOCAL residents are reminded to remain alert when taking a taxi, after a crackdown launched by local authorities yesterday found some cabbies cheating on fares.

When a red Falanhong taxi was stopped outside Shanghai Parkyard Hotel, inspectors found the taximeter showed 243 yuan (US$37.5). However, the fare should be 20 yuan, as the two German passengers got the cab at the Longyang Road Maglev Station, about 5 kilometers away.

A little motor, known as a pulse generator, was found in the cabbie's pocket. The driver could use the device like a remote control to adjust the taximeter.

But the pulse generator can go out of control on some occasions. One taxi driver yesterday was caught in a panic as his taximeter increased so fast that the fare jumped to 100 yuan in only five minutes.

Neither driver was identified by officials.

The inspections were mainly carried out around the Longyang Road Station on Metro Line 2.

Hong Tianlin, an official with the Association of Shanghai Taxi Industry, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that such cases are not common in the city.

Cabbies from smaller taxi companies are more often found to be using such devices, than those from better-known firms, claimed Hong.

Last year, a taxi driver swallowed the device in a bid to escape punishment, after he was stopped during a routine check near the World Expo site.

Drivers found to have used the device lose their licenses and are banned from the business for five years.

Hong advised passengers to take taxis belonging to large companies where possible.


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