Shanghai to launch regular 'beacon inspections' to bust illegal taxis

The inspections will be regular this year following good results from previous two inspections.
Ti Gong

An illegal taxi is stopped near Hongqiao Railway Station during “beacon inspection” on Tuesday. Roof beacons show three different statuses — green for “vacant,” and red for “offline.” The third status is also red, but the Chinese characters for “booked” appear. The first two statuses can be switched on by the drivers but the “booked” status is remotely done by the taxi firms. During inspection, police ask the companies to switch all the beacons to “booked.” Taxis whose beacons show otherwise are then stopped for questioning.

Shanghai's traffic law enforcement officers are to launch regular “beacon inspections” to clamp down on illegal taxis following good results from two previous inspections.

“We have perfected the inspection to avoid causing inconvenience to passengers,” said Chen Zhaohui, director of the law enforcement department. “Based on the data from this time, we will keep updating the inspection.”

In an operation on Tuesday, the officers busted six illegal taxis.

The inspection time was changed from 10pm to 11pm as that was the time illegal drivers seemed to appear. Tuesday’s inspection lasted for 20 minutes with officers setting up 12 checkpoints around the city. The two airports and Hongqiao Railway Station were some of the key checkpoints.

Shanghai has around 50,000 taxis. Drivers can change their roof beacons to “vacant” or “offline” but only taxi companies can switch them to “booked”. During the inspection, police asked companies to switch all beacons to “booked.” Taxis whose beacons showed otherwise were then stopped for questioning.

In 2017, the city busted 843 illegal taxis, a rise of 33.9 percent from that in 2016. The illegal taxis were seized and destroyed.

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