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Hotels warned in taxi probe

THE taxi watchdog is investigating possible collusion between cabbies and hotels after uncovering cases of overcharging at Pudong International Airport.

No one has been detained or punished so far but the taxi watchdog said they had required hotel management to cooperate in the investigation. Some hotels had also been warned to improve their supervision after it was found that some staff were being paid by taxi drivers to direct business their way.

A team of investigators from the Shanghai Traffic Law Enforcement Team found suspicious taxi tickets while operating at the taxi stance at the airport last week.

After interviewing passengers and checking fare slips, investigators found around 16 cases where passengers were sent to the airport directly from hotels in Puxi at fares ranging from 180 to 200 yuan, which should have been some 30 to 50 yuan cheaper.

"The fare receipts were printed by meters that showed no trace of tampering. The drivers would have taken detours intentionally to make a bigger fare. That's what we have learned from the initial investigation,'' said Wu Runyuan, a spokesman for the watchdog, yesterday.

He said the drivers involved included those from major companies and some of the hotels had high star ratings. But the watchdog would not reveal names until its investigations were complete.

The victims were mostly foreigners and out-of-towners on their first visit to the city.

After talking to drivers, investigators found that some cabbies paid commission to hotel workers to find them business. The excess charge of 30 to 50 yuan per trip went unnoticed by new visitors to the city, especially expatriates, said the watchdog.

"We have alerted the hotels involved to improve their supervision," Wu said.

Cabbies convicted of repeated violations face fines of up to 50,000 yuan in addition to the loss of their license.


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