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March 26, 2014

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Cabbies banned for conning passengers

A CAMPAIGN to crack down on dishonest taxi drivers operating in the Longyang Road area, where the Metro and maglev lines meet, has been a huge success, the Shanghai Traffic Law Enforcement Team said.

Since the launch of the scheme in November, seven drivers have had their business licenses revoked and the average number of complaints received by the team each month has fallen to 36 from 122, it said.

The campaign was initiated in response to a growing number of complaints about unscrupulous taxi drivers who cherry-pick customers based on how much they think they can charge them.

Several drivers are aided by scalpers who hunt out unwitting passengers.

The maglev connects the city to Pudong International Airport, and many of the people looking for taxis at Longyang Road are new to Shanghai and therefore unfamiliar with local taxi fares, the team said.

During the campaign, officials followed drivers about whom complaints had already been received. Over several months they recorded 42 offenses, including drivers refusing to carry passengers, deliberately taking extended routes to their destinations and overcharging.

The team issued bans of varying terms to each of the seven drivers who had their business licenses revoked.

Two of them, surnamed Dong and Pan, who shared a vehicle with the license plate EW6351, were found guilty of overcharging passengers by manipulating the meter in their cab.

In December, Dong charged three American passengers 220 yuan (US$35.50) for driving them from Longyang Road Metro Station to Shaanxi Road S. The correct fare should have been about 40 yuan.

Pan admitted to attaching an illegal device to the meter and using it to fool passengers into paying inflated fares.

Both men had their business licenses revoked and were given lifetime bans.

The law enforcement team also ordered the taxi company that employed them to improve its management system and service quality.

It also issued a warning to all taxi firms that if more than 4 percent of their drivers are found to have engaged in illegal practices they will be publicly named and shamed.

In a bid to protect people from dishonest cabbies, the law enforcement team and maglev operator have put up posters at the exits to Longyang Road Metro Station.

As well as alerting visitors to the scams, they serve as a guide to how much people should pay for taxi rides to major hotels, scenic spots and business districts across the city.


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