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July 21, 2009

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Transport: Cab bookings soar

SHANGHAI taxi firms yesterday reported a rush of phone bookings as people tried to avoid walking in the heat.

Officials from Shanghai Dazhong Taxi Co said it had recorded 7,000 phone bookings by 5pm, up 30 to 40 percent from the previous Monday.

"Calls started to flood in after 8am," said an official at the central dispatcher.

He estimated between 9,500 to 10,000 bookings would be reported by the end of the day. In normal times, bookings total about 8,000 a day.

Shanghai Qiangsheng Taxi Company said phone bookings increased by about 30 percent yesterday.

"Passengers got into my car as soon as it became vacant - there were no breaks," said Wu Chunpan, a cabbie from Dazhong Taxi Co.

Wu had more than 45 fares compared to 35 to 40 on average.

The electric generator in his car burnt out after the recent heat and his air-conditioner stopped working.

Wu said the cab spent some hours in a repair shop before he started work yesterday.

Cabbies are not allowed to take passengers on hot days if air-conditioners are not working, according to Shanghai taxi industry rules.

The Shanghai Metro authority also reported a 6 percent rise in commuters yesterday on all eight lines.

Daily passenger flow volume reached between 3.8 million to 3.9 million, the Metro authority said.


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