Sat, November 15, 2008
China > Mainland

Three officials resign after 5-day taxi strike ends in south China city

2008-11-15 14:48:02 GMT2008-11-15 22:48:02 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SANYA, Hainan, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Three transport officials resigned Saturday for dereliction of duty that partly triggered a five-day taxi strike in a popular tourist city of Sanya in southern China.

The officials included Chen Zhibang, director of the city's transport bureau, Li Mingde, secretary of the bureau's Party committee, and Yi Zhijun, a deputy bureau director, a spokesman with the CPC Sanya Municipal Committee said.

They were blamed for not having implemented a municipal government policy that was meant to cut taxi drivers' monthly fees to the firms from 7,200 yuan (1,054 U.S. dollars) to an average 5,300 yuan as of Jan. 1, and the policy was ignored by taxi companies in the city, the spokesman said.

"The three officials have serious dereliction of duty," he said.

All taxi drivers in this tourist city of Hainan Province returned to work on Friday, ending a five-day strike after getting solemn promises from the government.

Jiang Zelin, secretary of the CPC Sanya Municipal Committee, met nearly 2,000 taxi drivers in a library building at about 3:00 p.m., vowing to take concrete measures to protect licensed drivers' interests.

He ordered taxi companies to return overcharged fees to drivers in two days.

The government would launch a crackdown on unlicensed cabs and eradicate all forms of illegal taxi services across the city, which was another reason for the strike, Jiang pledged.

The local police authority said 20 drivers remained in custody for attacking taxi drivers who did not participate in the strike and smashing a dozen cabs, and eight others had been released by Friday.

Sanya, a famous tourist destination, has about 1,200 licensed cabs owned by six companies, but the number of unlicensed cabs is twice the number of licensed taxis, drivers said.

Additional buses had been put into service during the past five days and the local traffic situation was not badly affected as tourists, most came in groups, mainly travel on shuttle buses and the residents relied on the public transit.

Taxi driver strikes have been reported in other areas of the country since last week as disgruntled cabbies in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and northwestern county of Yongdeng demanded government action to resolve problems such as high rental fees, fuel shortages, and unlicensed taxis.

A number of regions have promised or already launched campaigns to eradicate illegal taxi services to placate licensed drivers and maintain social order.

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