No Taxi at Huaihai Road

It is so hard to get a taxi. Wendy and I were at the Huaihai Road and Xizang Road at around 9:00 PM tonight. We waited there for about half an hour but still don’t think there is any possibility to catch a taxi. There are people on both side of the streets waving their hands to every car – no matter it is a taxi, or non-taxi, but for a long time, there is no taxi stopping at all.

After about 1 hour standing on the street, we finally got on friends’ car to get back home. Thanks Echo…

The Demand Meets the Supply

It is not a secret that Shanghai is lack of taxi. It is very hard to get a taxi at rush hours (well, rush hours means 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, including weekends).

Here are some records of terrible taxi waiting experience.

Hire a Taxi? Avoid Rainy Friday

40 Minutes for a Taxi at Hongqiao

Avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday Night

I chatted with a taxi driver few days ago. As almost everyone else, he complained about their tough life.

Shanghai Taxi Driver’s Life Tougher

Taxi Driver’s Life Tougher – Part II

But he is happy that the total number of taxi available in Shanghai has not changed for many years (is it true? I consistently get this message, but cannot find the official data). He said if the government increase the number of taxi, that will be disaster for their lives.

Who Got the Money?

Obviously, it is tougher at the current situation for taxi drivers if they increase the taxi number. But is it the right choice to keep it stable?

Look at this city. How many people rushed into this city in the last few years? What is the expectation for transportation? What is the passenger number for taxi? The nightmare to grasp a taxi tells the answer.

My personal guess is, the taxi company just got too much out of the taxi drivers.

Shanghai is famous for expense car plate (37K per plate in the bidding of last month), but a BX plate worth 800K RMB. BX car plate is a special plate for individual taxi drivers. They don’t belong to a taxi company and they get most of the money they earn. (Cautious: Avoid Taxi with BX in Plate Number).

The 800K RMB price tells the secret.

The big taxi companies monopolies the market, and charges very hight for the taxi drivers. The taxi driver’s life get tougher, so they cannot agree to put more taxi on the road. Then the problem is, the city is trading taxi availability for the profit of taxi companies.

An Open Market

What if it is an open market, and a free market?

Now, it is still unclear whether car pooling is legal or illegal. Although it is a general practice (and a very environment friendly approach), it is very risky.

Han Han talked about a trap on this blog the other day. It is about a story that the Shanghai government hired people to pretend to be in emergency (stomach pain, etc), and waving for help on the road. When victim driver stop by to help, the driver will be caught and charged for illegal operation, and fine 10K RMB.

There is no way to verify the story, but I am not surprised at all, since it matches my perception of how they behave. The society has been cold already, and they are trying very hard to pin-point those small percentage of people who still have conscious, and good heart and fine them for doing good deed, so they won’t do it again, and more importantly, tell others not to do it in the future.

Connecting the raid for illegal car operation, and lack of taxi, you see a scary picture.

7 thoughts on “No Taxi at Huaihai Road

  1. This is quite insane if this turns out to be true.

    “It is about a story that the Shanghai government hired people to pretend to be in emergency (stomach pain, etc), and waving for help on the road. When victim driver stop by to help, the driver will be caught and charged for illegal operation, and fine 10K RMB.”

    Here in the US there is vigorous debate regarding healthcare insurance for illegal immigrants. But in the case of emergency, everyone, legal or not, with insurance or without insurance, is expected to get treatment in any hospital in the US (this does not work perfect, some times people did not get prompt treatment in emergency room). But as a principle, nobody (politicians included) challenged this “humane” policy.

  2. why car pooling is illegal? it’s just someone not using his car and ride with another driver, right?

  3. Their judgement was, if money is involved, no matter it is 5 RMB or 10 RMB, it is illegal taxi operation. Most of the car pooling in Shanghai share gas, which is forbidden.

  4. STLPlace, there is some challenge to this idea that everyone can get service in the ER in the US. Some people don’t want the illegal immigrants (or anyone else) to get the service unless they can pay. If they can’t pay, they should have made more money before they got sick.

    Wang Jian Shuo, I’m surprised that the number plate is so expensive again! Is it a new record?

    For the taxi, it seems that the rate should go up, and the number of taxis should go up. Then the taxi drivers can still make a good living, and they would be more available.

    I noticed that the taxi distribution seems uneven. Sometimes, at 10 pm, there’s many taxis just waiting around. but at 8 am obviously they are all used. So why don’t the 10 pm guys drive at 8 am? OTOH, perhaps they do both – maybe there’s 100% of taxis on the road at 8 am.

    if there were more taxis, there would be less incentive for people to buy their own cars, which would probably ease traffic, parking, and pollution. So it seems that the Shanghai govt should allow more taxis at a higher fare. Given the cost of the car, numberplate, gas, maintenance, it does seem that the average 20 rmb trip hardly is enough to pay for the taxi, let alone profit for the driver.

  5. Taxi services are strange in China. In Chongqing, you can’t get a Taxi around 3:30pm because it is the time the drivers have to return their cars… like work shift. And if they don’t make it on time, they’ll be fined. So you see a lot of empty Taxis running around but no body stops… unless you happen to get a driver who is going to your direction (where you are going is near their “hub”.

    In Beijing, Taxis can’t stop at Tianmen… and they can’t just stop at anywhere on the roadside. One other thing is that it is hard to call a Taxi in advance. I had friends live near 5 ring in the east, it is always a task to try to get a Taxi to the airport. There are number you can call, but I always got the answer that they don’t any driver near by… but “call for a Taxi” really means “make an appointment”… it doesn’t mean that in Beijing in my experience.

    The trouble in Chongqing sounds like controlling issue… can’t figure out what is the matter in Beijing.

    To trap people this way as Han Han posted is brutal. And if it’s true that there are gangsters involved in the Taxi business, it sounded like the govt was helping the gangsters guard the business.

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