Taxi passengers in Beijing will have new company on their journeys, as mobile TV sets are to be installed in over 10,000 taxis by the end of this year.
So far, 1,000 out of 66,000 taxis in the city have been furnished with the sets.
"Another 3,000 to 4,000 taxis will be equipped with the TV sets by October 1," said Wang Xiaoyou, spokeswoman for the Beijing BAMC Mobile TV Co Ltd, which launched the service on 4,000 city buses last year.
The company's aim is to get all the public transport vehicles in the capital carrying the mobile TV sets by 2008, when the Olympic Games will be held in Beijing.
"By then, passengers will be able to watch the games in the car," Wang said.
The small TV set is fixed into the back of the front passenger seat of the taxi.
It switches on automatically as soon as the driver starts the meter and shuts down 30 seconds after the meter is closed down.
Both passengers and drivers are able to alter the volume.
The service has been warmly received by taxi companies, with nine major players in the Beijing taxi industry, operating around 20,000 taxis, having already signed co-operation contracts with the company.
Dou Limin, an employee of the Beichuang Taxi Company, said the firm had more than 100 cars installed last month with another 400 due to be fitted by the end of the year.
"It adds another dimension to our service and can entertain the passengers," Dou said.
Tan Ziqiang, 28, who on Sunday took a ride in a taxi with a TV set, was impressed by the new service.
"It has a very small color monitor and played TV commercials," recalled Tan, who noticed the flashy screen as soon as he got into the brand new taxi.
(China Daily August 16, 2005)