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Guangzhou Taxis Enjoy Government Subsidies

The Guangdong Provincial Price Bureau announced on Monday that the monthly management fee collected from each taxi in Guangzhou will be reduced by 200 yuan (US$24.66) from this month on.


This means that a cab driver can get a subsidy of 100 yuan (US$12.33) each month. It is common practice for two drivers work the one cab on both day and night shifts.


Though happy with the local government's new subsidy policy, many taxi drivers here want more subsidies or other incentives including fuel surcharges on passengers.


One of them is Xie Penghui, a 31-year-old taxi driver from Central China's Hubei Province.


"Subsidies are always good news for me," he said. "The oil price hikes in the past few months have cost us dearly and I don't think oil prices will drop in the near future."


"The subsidy is far from enough to make up for the extra costs caused by price rises," Xie said. "I hope the local government will soon figure out more ways to help us, preferably a further reduction of management fees."


The local government levies a variety of fees on each taxi, which add up to 8,000 yuan (US$986) per month.


"The frequent petrol price rises have cost me some 500 yuan (US$61.65) more a month. To think that I was only earning 2,000 yuan (US$247) a month a year ago before the price rises," bemoaned Xie.


The price of 90-octane grade petrol, which most of the cabs in Guangzhou use, has risen to 3.45 yuan (43 US cents) per litre from a price of 2.2 yuan (27 US cents) in March last year, a record high in the past two decades. It is reported that a further price rise is very likely in the near future.


According to Wu Linbo, deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Price Bureau, the bureau has devised other solutions to ease the taxi drivers' predicament, which have already been submitted to provincial price bureau for sanction.


(China Daily August 26, 2005)


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