The days of taxi drivers refusing a ride to weary workers at the height of the evening rush hour may soon be over. Authorities announced last week that starting on June 1, taxi drivers are forbidden to conduct shift changes from 7 to 9am and from 5 to 7:30pm – under threat of a stiff fine and possible suspension.
Most pairs of drivers currently change shifts around 6:30pm. As GoKunming pointed out recently, changing drivers at the time of day when taxis are most needed exacerbates shortages in a city that has not added any new taxi licenses since 1999.
Under the new regulations issued by the Kunming Taxi Management Administration, drivers who are caught refusing passengers during the aforementioned peak travel times can be fined up to 2000 yuan (US$293) and suspended for up to 10 days.
Kunming citizens and authorities alike have long suspected that taxi drivers use the 6:30pm shift change as an excuse to pick and choose which fares they want to accept, avoiding taking passengers to undesirable locations by saying they need to go in a different direction for their shift change.
The new regulations have reportedly been spurred by a desire by officials to streamline transportation efficiency on the city's choked roads – especially as construction of the first two lines of the new metro system has caused disruptions on Chuncheng Lu and Beijing Lu, two important north-south urban streets.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.