A survey found that passengers in Beijing pay significantly cheaper taxi fares compared with other major international cities—a fact that could spell trouble for the city’s air pollution.
According to a survey conducted by taxi web portal rechner.de for Germany Economic Weekly, the price for flagging down a taxi is but a mere 14 yuan, with each added kilometer charged at 2.3 yuan.
Thus, a 10-kilometer taxi ride in Beijing costs as low as 29 yuan—a small fraction of the cost (200 yuan) of a 10-kilometer taxi ride in Tokyo, the city the survey ranked as having the most expensive taxi fares in the world.
Typical Shanghai cabs, in comparison, charge a starting fare of 14 yuan in the city (before 11:00 p.m., when the initial fare goes up to 18 yuan) but charge 2.4 yuan per kilometer. So close.
While low fares may be good for car-less Beijingers, the ubiquity of taxis could contribute to higher levels of air pollution due to taxi drivers’ tendency to idle and circle around incessantly in search of passengers.
According to People Daily, Wang Limei, secretary general with China Road Transport Association, says that she thinks the price discrepancy may be due to that fact that cabs are considered a common part of mass transit, whereas Westerners usually use taxis for emergencies and special occasions. She adds that a fare increase would face considerable public backlash due to Beijing’s history of low fares.
By Lucy Wang