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May 3, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Taxi bookings drop with fee

CAB booking volumes saw a decline yesterday as big taxi operators again started to charge booking fees of 4 yuan (65 US cents) after suspending them early this year.

The companies, however, expected bookings to gradually pick up again as riders get accustomed to the fees.

"It's still too early to tell whether the bookings will be affected by the fee," said Gao Yang, director of the call and dispatch center of Shanghai Qiangsheng Taxi Co, the city's largest operator.

Qiangsheng, among the first to resume the fee, said a decline of about 15 percent in booking volumes was reported yesterday, compared with the work day just before the May Day holiday.

The city has about 50,000 cabs, some 67 percent of which are in a booking-dispatching system. The centers handle 57,600 taxi services on average per day.

Gao said some companies were still off work yesterday, which also may have contributed to the decrease.

While most people still prefer to hail a cab, some said booking services are necessary.

A senior citizen surnamed Sun said she would pay the extra fee because it's difficult to wave down a taxi during the rush hour and she also needs door-to-door service.

Half of the 4 yuan fee is given to the driver and the other half used to maintain taxi operators' dispatch centers.

Fast-growing smartphone applications that also allow for booking a cab.

Big companies like Dazhong and Qiangsheng have developed their own smartphone apps. A new booking platform using the popular WeChat service and the Qiangsheng call center also opened yesterday. The new service also charges a 4 yuan fee.


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