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Kunming planning on adding more taxis soon

By in News on

An increase in the number of taxis on Kunming's streets is in the works, but the city government is still gathering data to determine how many new licenses to issue, according to a Kunming Daily report.

Yesterday the Kunming Municipal Transportation Bureau and the Municipal Taxi Management Office held a joint discussion regarding the difficulty of getting a cab in the Spring City, which has become increasingly problematic during weekday rush hours and weekends.

To date, the city has issued 6,951 taxi licenses. Last year 50 licenses were issued for hybrid taxis. Prior to that, the last time licenses had been issued was 11 years earlier in 1999, during the run-up to the World Horticultural Expo in Kunming.

As things stand today, it can take more than an hour to hail a cab during weekday rush hours, a situation which Kunming Daily is calling a "deep-seated problem" for the city.

This problem is exacerbated by shift changes often taking place during rush hour – the vast majority of Kunming's taxis are driven 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts. Last year's attempt by the city government to end the rush-hour shift changes is generally considered a failure.

Yesterday's government discussion focused on the problems Kunming residents are having getting taxis, but the plight of taxi drivers is considered less frequently. A taxi driver surnamed Huang who was interviewed by Kunming Daily said increasing the number of cabs will only increase the pressure on drivers.

"We have to follow the government's decision, but [increasing the number of taxis] will make things even harder," Huang said. "Every 24 hours we use up 200 yuan worth of gasoline, at the same time we have to give 200 yuan in rental fees to the [taxi] company – we need to make 500 yuan per day just to make ends meet."

Huang said that although it is difficult to get a cab in the city, he hopes the government considers the difficult position of the taxi driver.

"If suddenly there are many more competitors, everybody will have a difficult time surviving," he added. "Furthermore, in two years, after the subway is operational, the number of people taking taxis will suddenly drop. Then what do we do?"

According to municipal statistics there are currently 1.7 taxis per 1,000 Kunming residents. From October 2010 through March of this year, Kunming taxis had a passenger occupancy rate of 69 percent, compared with 60 percent in Shanghai.

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I was in Qingdao last week, its a popular tourist destination, with a very hilly layout in some ways similar to Kunming, but not only is Qingdao much easier than Kunming to get a taxi, with much better traffic speed, this northern "mountain city" is also building a subway system,,,but unlike Kunming the local government has requested that the construction does not effect traffic, so all construction is being done off to the side of roads.

According to one taxi driver the impact on the every day life of Qingdao citizens is so minimal that many locals dont even know a subway is being built!,,

It is really very interesting to see how different cities in China are managed.

But it was bloody freezing,,something Kunming has under control!

"More than an hour to hail a cab"?? Even during weekday rush hours I've rarely spent more than 10-15 minutes waiting for a ride. Are you forgetting to wave your hand?? Yes, it's something of a problem, but let's keep it in perspective.

Ocean you are a very lucky person then. Ive given up after waiting 20 or so minutes many times during rush hour. I think part of keeping it in perspective includes understanding the other people may have had different experiences than our own.

Takes me an hour or more during rush hour. Also, lots of drivers try to dump fares to downtown, claiming they're going off-shift (during rush hour). On some days, I can flag down 4-5 taxis who stop, hear I want to go to the green lake area, then claim they're going offshift or some other rude useless comment - so excuse me for having ZERO compassion for drivers.

the technology exists. take a cab in Singapore... the signs on the outside of the cab are wonderfully clear, even to the point of naming the direction in which drivers about to go off shift are prepared to take fares. we have pointless scrolling LEDs and drivers who can't be bothered to cover up the 空车 sign when they don't want to take fares. GPS? hahaha.

I agree with others, I have waited up to an hour for cabs on many occasions... worse than rush hour is weekend evenings. Add some rain and all bets are off.

We need more motorcyclists offering cheap rides!

I think I must live in the right part of town! Mind you, pedantically speaking "more than an hour" is a far cry from "20 or so minutes" or even "up to an hour". I'm all for more taxis and buses though. Someone stop throwing more cars onto the Kunimg streets!

...private cars, that is!

"If suddenly there are many more competitors, everybody will have a difficult time surviving," he added. "Furthermore, in two years, after the subway is operational, the number of people taking taxis will suddenly drop. Then what do we do?"

This is such a common complaint of so many taxi drivers and completely unfoundered. You go to any big city that has a subway (think HK, NY, Singapore, Rome....) and you see taxis everywhere. What taxi drivers don't realise is the subway means its less likely people own cars (even with their face value). But subways don't go everywhere so you often need to take a taxi to the out of the way place you are trying to get to after getting off the subway.

Subways are actually good for taxis, it causes more short trips more often for drivers, which with a flag fall fee means more revenue.

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