• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:35am

Taiwanese tourist in mainland China ignored by more than 20 taxis

A Taipei visitor to Xian is shunned by taxi drivers for over an hour

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 2:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 September, 2013, 5:40pm

A Taiwanese tourist was declined a ride by over 20 taxis in the mainland’s Xian city, causing local newspapers and netizens to reflect on Xian's transport problems.

On July 22, a Taipei traveller named Liu Hsiang Mei arrived in Xian and tried to hail a taxi to her hotel, Xinhua reported. Various taxi drivers stopped to ask her where she wanted to go, but after hearing that her destination was only 1.3 kilometres away, the drivers either rejected her outright or said the roads were bad or they were unsure of the route. At least seven empty taxis also passed Liu without bothering to stop, and after waiting for over an hour and hearing rejections from more than 20 drivers, Liu was forced to carry her luggage to her hotel by foot.

Reporters from Xinhua conducted an investigation on Xi’an taxis after the incident and waited at various city intersections and street corners to see whether taxis would stop for them. The results were mixed - while certain streets yielded taxis faster than others, reporters generally had to wait from five to 15 minutes before they could successfully hail a taxi. On more than one occasion, empty taxis would drive by and ignore them completely.

A Xian Taxi Management Office spokesman, named Zhang Xiaoping, told Xinhua that it was unclear why Liu had been rejected so many times. He apologised for Liu’s misfortune and said if she could provide evidence the drivers had intentionally ignored her, they would be punished in accordance with Taxi Management Office regulations. Zhang also said that generally, if passengers felt taxi drivers had wrongfully denied them a ride, they could call the office and file a complaint.

Sina Weibo commentators were sympathetic to Liu. Many said that even though her destination had not been far, dealing with unwilling taxi drivers was a common problem in Xi'an. 

“The number of Xian taxis who refuse potential passengers is unparalleled,” one blogger wrote. “I’ve never seen so many in any other place.”

Several took the opportunity to discuss problems with the city's other forms of transport - such as buses.

“Compared to Xi'an bus drivers, Xi’an taxi drivers are relatively decent,” another said. “Bus drivers treat their passengers like cattle, always telling them to move backwards [to the end of the bus] in a rude tone of voice… These people believe that…in a state-run public transportation world, they are the ‘masters.’ This is a deep-rooted problem in our society.”

A common sentiment amongst Weibo commentators was that this sort of incident “would never happen in Taipei”.

“I just came back from Taipei yesterday,” a netizen from Shenzhen wrote. “I sat in taxis several times and met many drivers… They all had a good attitude and would chat with me and introduced me to local places. Taiwan’s service industry - we really have a lot to learn from them!”

Taxis in Taipei are generally easy to hail, and the city has been making efforts to improve its public transport services. In June, the Taiwanese Ministry of Transportation and Communications offered Taipei taxi drivers a subsidy of NT$400,000 (HK$103,700) for purchasing wheelchair-friendly vehicles.


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This article is now closed to comments

conducted an investigation ??? what investigation ? any city it is normal to decline by taxi...... no one cares
Xian has the worst traffic jams that I've seen in China. Worse than Shanghai or Beijing because there is no alternate route, not sidestreet or cafe where you can just get out and wait it out. It is just noisy and crowded.
Taxis on the mainland are becoming horrible with drivers having terrible attitudes. They have no fear of punishment. They just dont care what you think about them or if you complain. Nobody cares about customers. Many older drivers have retired. I had a Shanghai taxi once where the driver was new, young. He was smoking and talking on the cell all the while he was driving. I complained and he didn't care. He said his grandmother forced him to get a job and would cut off her 50k yuan per month allowance to him if he didn't get a job. He actually wanted me to complain to his boss because if his boss fired him, his grandmother would still pay him. She just wanted him to "try". Good grief. Welcome to modern China.
Its not a service industry difference, its a cultural difference.
This is a big question for gov't.
Not only in Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, Haikou, Sanya etc. Everywhere the same. Always ask me were I want to go. If they won't earn enough from the trip they find some excuses not taking me. Beijing is the worst. There they demand 400-500 RMB for the trips especially if it rains or in the night time.
Hong Kong as well. I was at the peak with my family. We decided to take a taxi back and ask a taxi parking at the street side. He wanted to charge us 500HKD.
Personally I rank Shanghai and new York to be the worst of the worst.....


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