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Taxi operation resumes after brief strike in Chongqing
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Taxi drivers resumed work Wednesday afternoon in the Yongchuan suburb of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality after briefly protesting a government plan to increase the number of taxis for fear of competition.

Yongchuan authorities set up a meeting for Thursday morning with the nine taxi companies in the district.

Drivers went on strike to demonstrate opposition to a proposal by the local government to raise the number of cabs from 330 to 430, saying it would cut in to their business.

A cab driver, surnamed Yao, told a Xinhua reporter that his boss asked him to stop work in the morning and asked him to resume work at noon.

"There are some misunderstandings among the tax drivers on the policy to increase taxi numbers," said Hu Longyi, director of the district's public transportation and traffic administration.

"We have given detailed explanations to the taxi companies and they agreed to resume operation," he said.

According to the official, the local government made the decision to put more taxis on the road as 330 was "far from enough" to meet demand.

"We have received complaints from citizens that it is hard to get taxis in Yongchuan, especially at rush hours," said Hu.

From 2000 to 2004, the district added only 75 cabs and there has been no more added since 2004.

According to a survey conducted by the administration in August, 800 out of 1,000 respondents supported the taxi increase policy.

The district held a public hearing on the subject a month ago, in which 30 representatives from various parts of the community participated.

"All the representatives voted for the [taxi increase] policy except the two from the taxi companies," said an official with the administration who declined to give his name. "I think basically, they were afraid of more competition."

The district, about 60 km west of the city center, has a population of more than 350,000.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2008)

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