Monday, November 17, 2008

A bit more on Chongqing's taxi strike

My mother lives in Chongqing, and has taken taxis several times in recent days. "The drivers say, 'Bo Xilai is a good man!'" my mother told me on the phone yesterday. Bo Xilai is Chonqging's Party Secretary, and son of the deceased senior CCP leader Bo Yibo. Apparently the cabbies were happy with Bo Xilai's proper handling of the strike two weeks ago. Bo had listened to their demands carefully; he didn't arrest anyone; he even supported the notion of a labor union, which is quite refreshing in China. (Well, the Chongqing government must have done something right because the strike ended peacefully in two days, while a similar taxi strike in Sanya, Hainan lasted for a week.)

There had been rumors that some taxi companies actually backed the strike in order to further their agenda of increasing the "starting fee." Right now the "starting fee" in Chongqing is 5 Yuan, or about $0.70. While no solid evidence supports the rumor's truthfulness, there was a motion to double the "starting fee." But my mother said the cabbies who chatted with her opposed such action. They reasoned that to increase the "starting fee" might actually hurt their revenue, because many passages who travel a short distance would choose to walk instead of taking a taxi. My mother, who is in her 70s and usually rides within the "starting fee" distance, agreed.

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