The drop fare for Beijing taxis is likely to jump from 10 yuan ($1.62) to 13 yuan, according to a proposal released by Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform on Tuesday in advance of hearings it will conduct to discuss proposals for the first hike in taxi fares since 2006.
The proposal also calls for the per kilometer charge to rise from the current fee of 2 yuan to between 2.3 yuan and 2.6 yuan. The fuel surcharge will drop from the current 3 yuan for a trip of more than three kilometers to 1 yuan for every trip, according to the commission's website.
During morning and evening rush hours, the previous two-yuan charge for every five minutes stalled in traffic will increase from between 4.6 yuan to 5.2 yuan.
The fee for calling a taxi to pick you up will jump from 3 yuan to 8 yuan if booked four hours in advance or 5 yuan if ordered within four hours, according to the commission's proposals.
The proposal also requires that taxi drivers receive all the increased fares. It plans to forbid taxi companies from raising the rental fees they charge to drivers. The fare increases are designed to improve efficiency and provide a better service, said the website.
Many taxi drivers' net income is between 3,300 yuan to 4,500 yuan per month, while their rental fee for taxis ranges from 3,000 yuan to 4,000 yuan each month, according to taxi drivers who told the Global Times they often work 12-hour shifts and drive 400 kilometers a day.
"Taxi fares should have increased years ago, so we can earn enough money to support our families," Ren Wei, a Beijing taxi driver, complained to the Global Times on Tuesday.
Zhang Fengrong, another taxi driver told the Global Times that he is afraid that he will "lose passengers after the fair increase," a notion supported by people who take cabs.
"I won't take a taxi for personal activities. I'll use public transportation instead," Cheng Liwei, a white collar worker in Beijing, told the Global Times.
There are 252 taxi companies and 1,157 private small business holders operating 66,646 taxis in Beijing that are driven by nearly 100,000 taxi drivers. They ferry more than 700 million passengers around the city each year.
The commission will hold hearings on May 23 and citizens can apply for one of 10 positions to attend the hearing meeting, said the website. Twenty-five representatives will be called to give their opinions at the hearing, including three government staffers, three deputies to Beijing People's Congress, three members from the local People's Political Consultative Conference, three drivers and two representatives from taxi companies, according to the website.