Shenzhen lowers taxi fuel surcharge
2012-May-16 Source:
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Shenzhen's taxi fuel surcharge is 1 RMB (0.16 USD) lower as of today (May 14), the city's transportation commission announced yesterday. The move returns the surcharge to 3 RMB per ride about two months after it was increased to 4 RMB following March's rising gas prices. The fuel surcharge for both red and green cabs is now 3 RMB.

The latest surcharge adjustment follows the May 10 decrease in the price of No. 93 gasoline, which dropped from 8.37 RMB to 8.1 RMB per liter.

According to the city's taxi fare mechanism, which is tied to gasoline prices, authorities can increase or decrease the fuel surcharge by 1 RMB if No. 93 gasoline jumps or falls into a certain price category. Because No. 93 gasoline now costs 8.1 RMB per liter, fitting into a price category of 7.41 to 8.28 RMB per liter, the fuel surcharge is adjusted accordingly.

The adjustment once again surprised residents and especially cab drivers because, like March, the change came without a two-month observation period.

When Shenzhen abruptly increased its fuel surcharge for cabs by 1 RMB in March to 4 RMB, it gave the city the highest taxi-related fuel surcharge in China, following national increases in gas prices.

The fuel surcharge is intended to help cab drivers offset the burden caused by gas price increases. But after the March change, many cab drivers didn't feel their burden had been relieved. Instead, their income had been reduced because of the loss of short-trip riders. According to a driver surnamed Li with Shenfang Taxi Service Co., the number of customers dropped by 10 percent in April.

"It is understandable for the government to set a fare-fuel mechanism. I think the government should charge the fee by distance and make both drivers and passengers satisfied," said a woman surnamed Li who works in the Luban Building in Futian District. "It is unfair to charge the same fee for a distance of 2 kilometers or 20 kilometers. The longer the distance the passenger travels, the higher the charge the passenger should pay."

Some drivers think the government and taxi operators should bear the burdens of gas price hikes, instead of taxi drivers and passengers.

Some drivers suggested that government hold a hearing to discuss a more reasonable mechanism.

There are about 13,000 cabs on Shenzhen streets.

Editor: Miranda
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