Shanghai will put for-taxi-only cars onto streets by 2006, but nobody has any idea how it looks like. As learned from Shanghai taxicab administrative office it is going to be decided through bidding with probable invitation tendered for the world automobile giants to bid so as to make a choice out from car models worldwide.
As leaned all the taxicabs currently running in Shanghai streets are regular sedan cars, which are not designed for the purpose. All the equipment necessary for taxi operation is added onto it "after birth" and so there are many drawbacks. For example, the running meter is installed away from his eyesight when the passenger sits in the back row. The anti-robbery shield is inclined outward making the passenger sitting beside it very uncomfortable, while a passenger carries s piece of luggage hailing a taxicab the driver has to get off the car to open the boot etc.
In developed countries such as the UK, the USA and Japan there are models for taxi-only. It is also the case in China's Hong Kong SAR. The measure taken by Shanghai's taxi-only model is the first of its kind in China's mainland. The special model will be redesigned according to the need of Shanghai taxi passengers. Luxury is not necessary for the inner furnishings but they must be durable. It differs from private cars and business cars. For example, passenger seats should be spacious and comfortable; running meter should be installed at a place easy for the passengers to observe and driver should be able to open the doors or luggage boot for the passenger in his seat. All in all, it is more convenient for the passenger carrying a baggage; meanwhile an easy-to-fold child seat with belts should be added to protect child from possible injury during the ride.
(People's Daily March 25, 2004)