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Three people were killed Sunday morning at 6am when a Beijing taxi veered off the Third Ring Road and struck a tree, China Daily reported. The accident highlights the conditions under which the drivers work and the hazards of taxi transport in the capital.

Beijing transport officials declined to speculate on the cause of the crash, although the English-language daily didn't, suggesting that driver fatigue may have been the cause. Shifts of ten to 12 hours are not uncommon, with some drivers working double shifts of up to 24 hours, with one or no days off per week.

The average driver pays their cab company RMB 5,175 per month, and takes home a little over RMB 4,600 after expenses.

However, while many are sympathetic ot the drivers' long hours, they continue to generate public enmity for not picking up passengers hailing cabs on the roadside, poor knowledge of roads and locations, and poor hygiene. While the recent taxi fare increase of flag fall from RMB 10 to RMB 13 for the first four kilometers of a ride provided a brief uptick in improved taxi service, service has now returned to pre-rise levels of apathy and even antipathy.

The advent of taxi-booking apps, especially Didi Dache, has also changed the driver-rider relationship, giving drivers a choice of nearby fares to select, rather than gambling on the person on the street.

Photo: China Daily

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog