Accidents waiting to happen

By Chang Meng Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-4 0:20:06


Cabs in Wuhan, Hubei Province, line up in front of a liquefied petroleum gas station on November 28. Photo: CFP
Cabs in Wuhan, Hubei Province, line up in front of a liquefied petroleum gas station on November 28. Photo: CFP

The Wuhan-based carmaker Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile (DPCA) said Sunday it would offer free inspection and repairs to the city's fleet of 13,000 C-Elysee model taxis which drivers say are unsafe to drive because they are equipped with an inferior braking system.

The move followed a CCTV investigative report on Sunday showing that the fleet of C-Elysee taxis, which make up 82 percent of Wuhan's cabs, are not equipped with either an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) or power brakes, which are standard equipment on the retail model of the vehicle.

A customer service staffer at DPCA told CCTV that the taxi fleet was made according to specification provided by the city government.

A staffer surnamed Wu at DPCA's Hongtai service center in Wuhan told the Global Times that starting Monday, C-Elysee cab drivers could make an appointment at the company's service centers for a free inspection on the braking system.

The staffer said free repairs will be offered if the "problem is determined to be a manufacturer's defect."

The company said Monday night the inspection on the braking system includes 31 points.

DPCA did not reply to emailed questions from the Global Times about whether it was possible to upgrade the fleet's braking systems.

The CCTV report also said local insurance companies have raised the likelihood of an accident involving the taxi by almost 50 percent.

The ABS prevents a car from skidding during emergency or quick stops. ABS is not required standard equipment on new vehicles manufactured in China.

A staffer from the city's passenger transport management office confirmed to the Global Times Monday that an investigation started Monday but refused further comment.

A Wuhan cab driver surnamed Yang told the Global Times that while he had not had problems with the brakes on his taxi, he heard of many other drivers who had been involved in accidents and blamed their vehicles' braking system.

Another driver surnamed Liu was quoted by CCTV as saying his car is like a bomb.

"I have driven cab for over 10 years, and this car is like a killing tool," Liu said.

Drivers also worry about possible explosions now that 70 percent of the city's taxis have switched from using gasoline to liquefied petroleum gas.

Wuhan started to replace cabs with C-Elysee in April 2011 and the fleet of them transports 950,000 passengers a day.



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