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July 30, 2009

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Local bus and taxi service improving

SHANGHAI'S transport business watchdog yesterday said local taxi and bus services have improved from a year earlier as they were dealing with fewer complaints and reports.

The Shanghai Traffic Law Enforcement Team also said it had stepped up night patrols and investigations.

In its half-yearly report released yesterday, the watchdog said it dealt with 86 serious taxi problems - overcharging, using tampered meters, taking long routes and turning down passengers - from January to June. As a result, 17 drivers lost their business licenses and 26 were given 15-day suspensions.

During the six months, the watchdog handled 3,784 cases of taxi complaints and reports, 10.4 percent less than the first half of last year.

It attributed the improvement to improved monitoring, including more surveillance cameras at major transport hubs and better coordination with hotels' taxi supervision.

Acting on tips, investigators this week launched its latest crackdown on illegal taxi services operating from the downtown intersection of Xizang Road M. and the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall.

The drivers hawk for business after 10pm, when it's difficult to find cabs, but they mostly turn down short trips and ask for higher fares.
The transport watchdog said urban transit buses had made greater improvements in service than taxis.

They handled 921 cases of bus service violations in the first six months, dropping by 49 percent from a year earlier.

Major violations ?? including speeding to overtake other buses, overstaying at the stops to cram in more passengers - accounted for nearly 22 percent of the cases.

In spot checks, the authority also caught a number of drivers smoking while on service and fined their companies 2,000 yuan each time.

The transport authorities have increased monitoring of local coach services this year and found buses illegally picking up extra passengers from non-designated stops rampant among coach operators.

The watchdog said it had investigated 2,637 cases against coach companies, and found more than 60 percent of them were related to non-designated pick-ups.

"The coach industry is in disorder with many of the routes outsourced to individual operators," watchdog spokesman Wu Runyuan said.


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