fake taxi

1,100 Black Cabs Taken Off Shanghai Streets

Now it will be even harder to get a cab

Getting around Shanghai looks to get even more difficult as a city-wide police crackdown has removed 1,100 illegal taxis off its streets.

Police say the majority of cars illegally used as taxis were found touting for business in front of transportation hubs like subway and train stations. These types of illegal taxis are often referred to as “black taxis” in China.

Half of the offenders are said to have complied with their punishments, which include fines ranging up to RMB 30,000 (around $3,500) and license suspensions of up to three months.

But Shanghai commuters aren’t just facing a shortage of illegal taxis now, but regular taxis as well. Earlier this month, Shanghai announced a trial program that would welcome back retired taxi drivers as a way to alleviate the city’s lack of taxis. Under the plan, licensed and registered taxi drivers over the age of retirement could work an additional five years driving a taxi.

According to urban transportation administrative department deputy director Ma Fei, about 3,000 of Shanghai’s 50,000 licensed taxis are not being used.

The lack of taxis, both legal and illegal, comes at a time when rival companies are implementing extreme measures to win China’s nascent ride-sharing market.

Popular ride-sharing service Uber has admitted it is running a deficit of over $1 billion to compete against its well-funded and connected Chinese rival, Didi Kuaidi. Shanghai Uber drivers have said they are receiving subsidies of as much as 130 percent, signifying that they are making as much as twice the fare of their passengers.

Uber’s ambitious plans will see it expand service to 100 Chinese cities this year.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor