Taxi drivers resumed work Tuesday afternoon in Hongjiang city of the southern Hunan Province after the city government responded swiftly to their demand for prolonging their operational period and reduce taxes and fees.
The protest started on Monday morning, when all 80 licensed taxis in the city -- 50 red ones and 30 yellow ones -- in the 30,000-people city stopped on a square in front of the Hongjiang city government. All the taxis belong to one company named Huiyu transport company.
A meeting was later held between delegates of the taxi drivers and government officials to exchange views on the issue.
According to Yang Chunming, an official with the city management bureau, the red cabs demanded that their operational period be prolonged to eight years like the yellow ones, while the yellow ones demanded insurance of the vehicle which the red ones enjoy, and both called for reducing tax and cracking down on illegal cabs.
"We need approval from the provincial government to prolong the operational period of cabs," he said, noting the city government is filing reports for approval.
He said insurance of yellow cabs was not listed in their contract with the company, he added. It's up to the drivers to purchase such insurance.
As for the tax and fees, 748 yuan (about 96 U.S. dollars) a month, Yang said there was no room for reduction.
Taxi drivers were divided on the issue.
"Hongjiang is a small city with so few people. There are many illegal motorcycles, tricycles and cabs vying with us with lower prices and we could hardly find work," said a driver on condition of anonymity. "The tax is too high."
Strikes of cab drivers had been reported over the past week from Shantou, Chongqing and Sanya, among others, over high rental fees and unlicensed taxis.
(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)