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March 23, 2010

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Probe sees cabbies, guides bilk tourists

SOME tour guides and cabbies are cheating foreign tourists, according to a recent undercover inspection.

The inspection showed some cabbies on Nanjing Road E. wouldn't use the meter but told exorbitant prices to foreign passengers, and some cabbies refused to carry passengers to nearby destinations, according to the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection.

The commission said it sent 88 volunteers to inspect the quality of dining, accommodation, transportation, shopping, sightseeing and entertainment that tourists encounter.

About 26 percent of the volunteers said they were "not satisfied" or "just so so" with what they found.

Foreigners hit

"Foreigners and tourists from Hong Kong and Macau are their biggest targets because they are not familiar with the cabbie market in Shanghai," said Zhang Jiaming, general secretary general of the commission.

Tour guides were another big problem. Some guides changed schedules at random, and some shouted out curses to tourists' interpreters when they questioned the sightseeing itinerary and dining environment, said the commission.

"Sightseeing was the most unsatisfactory field among the six," said Zhang. "About 30 percent of the volunteers said they were not satisfied with the sightseeing service."

The Traffic Law Enforcement Team said cabbies found cheating passengers will be fined 200 yuan (US$29).

The Shanghai Tourism Administration said it will urge travel agencies to sign contracts with tourists and clearly label their prices and schedules. Officials will carry out inspections before the 2010 World Expo.


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