According to a recent article in The Beijing Evening News and translated here, 50 new Chery A5 hybrid taxis are now in service across Beijing. The Beijinger photographer Simon Lim caught this photo of one of the new cabs over at Jiaodaokou earlier this morning, but was beaten to the cab by another passenger.
Seven of Beijing's various taxi companies have been running the taxis, the first batch of "weak-hybrid" vehicles to enter China's taxi market, since late June. The taxi's have
Hybird Electric Vehicle (混合动力汽车 Hunhe Dongli Qiche) written across the door. According to the article:
The 'weak-hybrid' model uses gasoline as its main power, and its working engine will recharge a special cell in the vehicle. The electric power will start to work for the vehicle at idle or initial speed. When the speed reaches 5km/h and above, the power program will switch back to gasoline. This power system, which is suitable for cars on the often-congested Beijing roads and streets, can reduce a vehicle's fuel consumption by 15%.
In other taxi news:
Due to a recent rise in petrol prices, the subsidy paid out to Beijing's taxi drivers has been increased by 525 kuai to RMB 1,305 a month. Despite this, there have been anecdotal reports of an increase in late night cab fares and the price rate jumping once the meter passes 50 kuai.
Special taxis that are able to transport passengers in wheelchairs were also unveiled this week. The new cabs resemble the shape of a black London cab but come in Beijing's own distinctive two tone color scheme. The cabs can be booked by calling 961001. Only 15 of the 70 cabs on order have been released so far. Non-disabled passengers will also be able to ride in the spacious cabs, which cost the same as a regular cab and can sit 5 people in the rear.
Beijing's traffic police have announced that they’ll be cracking down on the city's cabbies for the rest of the month. They’ll be making sure that drivers, among other things, keep their cab clean, only accept passengers in designated taxi zones and are also threatening drivers with a fine of up to RMB 2000 if they deliberately take passengers on a longer route than is necessary.
Links and Sources
Gassgoo: First 50 Chery hybrid taxis run on Beijing streets
Beijing News: 无障碍出租车亮相北京
The Beijing News: 北京出租车绕路最高罚2000元
The Beijing News: 北京市出租车油补再增525元
People's Daily: Beijing tells taxi drivers to tidy up as Olympics nears
The Beijinger: Price Hike: Beijing's petrol and energy prices go up - and maybe cabs?
Autoblog: Chery unveiling first mass-produced Chinese hybrid in Beijing