Errant taxi drivers can lose license
SHANGHAI taxi drivers caught cherry-picking passengers or tampering taximeters face the prospect of having their license withdrawn, according to the law enforcement department of the city’s transport commission.
In another new development, all taxis in Shanghai will now have to be fitted with a GPS navigation system.
Under a new guideline that aims to crack down on illegal taxi operation, drivers caught cherry-picking or over-charging more than once will have their license suspended, local transport authorities said yesterday.
Previously, a driver would get away with a fine of 200 yuan (US$30) or banned from driving a taxi for 15 days for cherry-picking. Only if he or she was caught again within a year, the license would be revoked.
The new guideline doesn’t set any such time limit.
A driver caught committing the same offense twice will not be able to operate as a commercial driver for the next five years.
Also, the punishment for taximeter violations depended on the amount of money overcharged. Now, the authorities will confiscate the license for the same violation committed twice.
A taxi company is also at risk of losing its operating license if 20 percent of its drivers are banned, authorities said.
Drawing a parallel with the rules of soccer, Ni Shenting, a law enforcement officer from the traffic department, said: “Basically, it means if you get a yellow card, you are careful for the rest of your game. A second yellow will automatically mean a sent off and your commercial driving career is at risk.”
After five years, the driver will get another chance but only after undergoing a series of tests.
“I think the new guideline is useful,” said Ni Guochang, a cabbie from taxi company Qiangsheng. “Taxi business has long been the ‘name card’ of Shanghai, and more such regulations will keep the business clean.”
The new guideline was released on November 1, and drivers and taxi firms were given a month to act on it.
In another guideline, taxis have been told to install a GPS system and link it with the navigation and supervision system of their companies. The onus is now on the companies to report all unusual activities to the authorities.
Passengers can call 12345 to complain about errant taxis. The traffic authorities have said keeping the taxi receipts and taking a picture of the driver’s service card as well as car plate number can help in disputes.
Officers yesterday nailed a driver of taxi firm Risheng with a car plate number DX3261, following complaints about overcharging against the driver. The taxi also did not have a GPS system.
Taxi firms with unqualified drivers will also be fined 5,000 yuan, according to the guideline.