12 Nov 2009 12:24

Beijing to adjust taxi fares to deal with rising fuel prices

Shanghai. November 12. INTERFAX-CHINA - Beijing Municipality plans to increase taxi fares by RMB 1 ($0.15) to help cab drivers cope with higher fuel prices, state media reported on Nov. 11.

The fuel surcharge is part of the city's efforts to keep taxi fees in line with local fuel prices, according to the Xinhua news agency. The government and taxi companies are required to pay drivers a fuel subsidy when RON 93 gasoline costs between RMB 4.26 ($0.62) and RMB 6.5 ($0.95) per liter.

RON 93 gasoline prices in Beijing rose to RMB 6.6 ($0.97) per liter after the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) raised domestic fuel prices by RMB 480 ($70.28) per ton on Nov. 10.

When RON 93 gasoline is priced between RMB 6.5 ($0.95) and RMB 7.1 ($1.04) per liter, the government and taxi companies will levy the RMB 1 ($0.15) surcharge on passengers who take a taxi more than three kilometers in order to augment the subsidies, according to report. If the price of RON 93 gasoline exceeds RMB 7.1 ($1.04) per liter, taxi fees will be adjusted.

The Beijing News reported on Nov. 11 that the city's traffic supervision department will make an official announcement about the new mechanism before it is implemented.

Reports of the impending surcharge in Beijing began after Shanghai Municipality's taxis raised their minimum fee last month from RMB 11 ($1.61) to RMB 12 ($1.77). The taxi fee for a ride longer than three kilometers was also increased from RMB 2.1 ($0.31) to RMB 2.4 ($0.35) per kilometer. And the minimum fee for service after 11 p.m. rose from RMB 14 ($2.05) to RMB 16 ($2.34).

The Shanghai branch of the NDRC said in a statement on Oct. 9 that it raised taxi fees after considering fuel prices and the city's higher fuel standard. Beijing and Shanghai are the only two cities in China to use fuel that complies with the Euro IV emission standard, making their fuel prices the highest in the country.