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In a bid to ease traffic congestion, Beijing authorities are suggesting that people share taxi during rush hours. Many are welcoming the move to reduce traffic jams, but some are finding it impractical.
In a bid to ease traffic congestion, Beijing authorities are suggesting that people share taxi during rush hours.
It's not easy to get a taxi during rush hours in Beijing. While the authorities are suggesting people share taxis with other passengers, many are finding this is easier said than done.
Sharing a taxi, each passenger only has to pay 60 percent of the total fare. But many still find it inconvenient to share a car with strangers. This is especially the case with female passengers.
Zhang Ying, a passenger, said, "I'm not against taxi sharing if possible. But actually, I only did it once, on a particularly rainy day. Meeting someone by chance who is heading in the same direction is not easy."
A taxi driver said, "I've carried people willing to share a taxi, but normally it happens during rush hour when people are all heading to the subway."
Beijing has more than sixty thousand taxis serving for more than two million people everyday. But demand is much bigger than that. Advocates of taxi sharing see it as a way to reduce energy consumption and ease congestion.
Liu Zhiyan from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, "We should encourage people to share taxis voluntarily. Meanwhile, we should find ways to avoid disputes, for example, setting up stops for taxis heading to the same direction. If taxi sharing is widely accepted, the efficiency of traffic resources is sure to increase."
Beijing is putting a greater focus on public transport. Concepts such as sharing private cars are also changing the way people think about using public resources.
For many taxi drivers, carrying an extra passenger used to be an act of kindness. Now, it's become a rule that people feel they ought to follow.
Good traffic conditions are critical for any metropolis, and here in Beijing, the need to improve transportation efficiency is gaining more attention. Taxi-sharing may not be widely accepted yet, but to ease the gridlock, Beijing will need more solutions like this.