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Illegal cabbies offered work at licensed firms

THE city transport watchdog said it is working to create more opportunities for illegal taxi drivers to join licensed companies.

The Shanghai Communications, Transport and Port Bureau said yesterday that 3,700 illegal cabbies have been persuaded to join government-authorized taxi companies over the past three years.

Most of them live in the outskirts of the city and work for regional taxi firms licensed to work only within certain districts. Their rates are lower than downtown taxis.

Officials said the bureau had approved 1,690 new cars as regional taxis in the suburbs over the past three years as a way of creating legal jobs for unlicensed cabbies.

The bureau said more than 200 bus routes have also been opened or streamlined since 2006 to improve public transport between suburban districts and downtown.

However, the lack of convenient transport remains a headache for some suburban residents despite government's efforts to improve transport.

Transport officials also said they had noticed a rise in the number of illegal ambulances in Shanghai, which can be hired to take patients to and from hospitals. They are cheaper to hire than Shanghai's inadequate fleet of legitimate ambulances.


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