Kunming is cracking down on illegal taxis – five months after the city's relocation of long distance bus stations may have actually bolstered demand for the so-called "black cars".
It started late last year when 11 long distance bus stations near the city center were shuttered and consolidated into five new stations situated around Kunming's periphery. A lack of publicity about the moves caused confusion among many travelers.
Now, as one New Life Times reporter rather diplomatically puts it, "As the long distance bus stations have relocated to the outskirts, certain infrastructure has temporarily failed to keep pace."
What has failed to keep pace is public transportation options that allow passengers to actually get to and from the stations, a market gap that has been a boon to illegal taxi drivers.
One example is the Northwest Bus Station, which is served by only three public bus lines. It is also located in an area unfrequented by licensed taxis, a problem that afflicts other stations including the West Station in the Majie area that serves popular tourist destinations including Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-la.
As a result, the area outside the stations has become a hive of illegal taxis, known in Chinese as "black cars" (黑车). Passengers frequently resort to these cars when there are no buses or licensed taxis to be found.
A market has even developed for intermediary agents who try to direct travelers to illegal taxis. One such agent said she earns a one to two yuan commission per passenger and sometimes snares as many as 40 passengers a day.
During the April 6 to 21 crackdown, authorities from the transportation branch of the Public Security Bureau are working with other municipal bureaus to impound illegal taxis – with bus stations a focus of the campaign.
It remains unclear how the city will address the underlying transportation problems facing the new stations.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.