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July 9, 2011

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Shanghai's taxi fares up 2 yuan from today

TAXI trips in Shanghai will cost at least 2 yuan (3 US cents) more from today.

The flag-down fare rises to 13 yuan from 12, and a fuel surcharge of 1 yuan per trip will also apply, the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

Trips after 11pm will start at 18 yuan, including the fuel surcharge, compared to the current 16 yuan.

However, the new and old rates will co-exist among the city's approximately 49,000 taxis until the end of the month as it will take time for taxi firms to upgrade their meters, officials said.

Shanghai last raised taxi rates in October 2009.

The city government had put up two fare-rise options to elicit public opinion.

The one they rejected kept the flag-down fare unchanged but raised the per kilometer fee after the first 3km from 2.4 yuan to 2.7 yuan.

Under the new fares structure the per km rate will stay at 2.4 yuan.

"Now the price of everything seems to be increasing," said local resident Stephen Kong, adding that he will not be taking taxis as often as before. However, in an emergency or when the weather is bad a taxi is still essential, he said.

Zhou Huai, deputy director of the city's transport and port administration, said he expected business to show a slight drop initially because of the price increase.

Taxi driver Cao Yongzhen said he was afraid fewer passengers would choose taxis, especially for short trips.

And for longer trips, he said, they might turn to the Metro.

"On the one hand I am happy to know that I can earn more for each trip," said Jin Kangsheng, another driver who has been in the business for 18 years.

"But I may lose business on the other hand."

At present each cab makes an average of 34.5 trips each day, said Zhou.

Two drivers who share one taxi should be able to earn an extra 1,035 yuan a month from the one yuan fare rise.

The taxi industry in Shanghai employs about 100,000 drivers who usually work 15-hour shifts.

The new fuel surcharge will be in place for at least one year.

However, the government will continue to provide subsidies as a surcharge of 1 yuan is still not enough for drivers to remain profitable in the face of rising fuel prices, officials said.

The city is also to intensify its crackdown on illegal cabs, Zhou said, as they may see an increase in business because of the rise in fares.


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