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.© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.