Image via Shanghai Daily.
Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, is going to be a less familiar sight for Shanghai residents after 2,000 taxis removed advertising screens after they were deemed dangerous.
This move comes after a passenger travelling in a Shanghai taxi was severely injured when her face struck a screen at high speed, she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.
The Shanghai Transport and Port Administration have also ordered cab companies to stop installing new screens, and stated that companies should not renew companies with Touchmedia, who supply the majority of screens found in Shanghai taxis.
Around 22,000 Touchmedia screens are installed in taxis in the city. Officials admitted that the screens have met safety standards in tests which simulated car crashes.
This move to ban screens, while it could be welcomed by consumers happy not to have adverts thrust upon them every time they jump into a cab, is misguided. The young woman injured in March was not wearing her seatbelt, and doctors admitted that she would have been severely injured whether there was a screen to smash into or not. Some 10 percent of Shanghai taxis do not have working seatbelts, and many more make them inaccessible with seat covers.
What is also not mentioned in discussions about advertising screens is the extent to which the revenue they provide taxi companies subsidises lower prices for passengers. Taxi fares in Shanghai are already among the most expensive in the country.