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December 18, 2010

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Passenger told to leave cab in fare row

A LOCAL taxi driver has been fined and suspended after telling a passenger to get out of his cab midway through the journey, leaving the man in the cold and dark.

Officials with Shanghai Haihong Taxi Co, which employs the driver involved, said it will "learn from the lesson and improve its service."

Feng Feng, a company official, declined to disclose the driver's name.

The incident happened late Wednesday night at Hongqiao International Airport. It highlights a problem whereby cabbies, who may have waited hours for a customer, are reluctant to take short-distance fares.

Zhan Guoqing, an air traveler from neighboring Zhejiang Province, took a taxi after arriving at the city at 10:15pm on Wednesday for a business trip.

The driver suggested that they decide a price between themselves, instead of going by the meter, and demanded 60 yuan for the 30 yuan ride to a motel. The cabbie told Zhan that he had waited two hours for a customer and that he should "cover the loss of the waiting time."

When Zhan refused, the driver pulled over and told him to get out. He had to wait in the cold for 30 minutes before another cab passed by.

Zhan later received an apology from the taxi company.

The taxi watchdog said it will launch campaigns of fines and suspensions in the Hongqiao hub to stop this practice.

Drivers will be fined up to 200 yuan and suspended for 15 days when caught turning down passengers deliberately for first time.

Second offenders will lose their taxi license.


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