Vietnam Deputy PM slams Hanoi management of taxis

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A fraudulent taxi picks up passengers in Hanoi. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc slammed taxi management authorities in Hanoi Wednesday, saying that drivers were still ripping off passengers, fighting amongst themselves, parking illegally, and breaking traffic laws. 

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has criticized Hanoi authorities for ineffective handling of taxi drivers in the capital city, saying their failure is tantamount to complicity.

Lax surveillance and enforcement has allowed many taxi drivers to cheat passengers, fight among themselves for passengers, park in the wrong places and drive above speed limits, he said.

"I have never seen any city or province with taxi services as troublesome and unreliable as Hanoi," Phuc said at a Wednesday (May 29) conference reviewing traffic safety in the first five months of this year.

He asked Hanoi's police and transport departments to stop the violations, failing which they would be marked as agencies illegally protecting such activities.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the Hanoi Department of Transport, said local authorities will correct the operations of taxi companies in Hanoi from next month onwards.

He said any company that has five taxi drivers violating traffic regulations will have its business license revoked temporarily.

Any taxi caught speeding will not be allowed to operate again, he said.

News website Dan Viet quoted Hung as saying that Hanoi had fined taxis in 5,031 cases for various traffic violations in the first five months of 2013. They have seized 33 cabs and imposed fines of VND135 billion (US$6.4 million), he said.

The Transport Ministry advised transport departments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to introduce measures protecting taxi passengers from getting ripped off, check taxi companies' operations regularly and fine violators.

An unnamed official from the Hanoi Department of Transport's inspectorate told news website VnExpress last week that the agency was inspecting the operations of 20 taxi companies. Those reported to have cheated passengers recently would be inspected first, the official said.

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Several taxi drivers in Hanoi, including those belonging to Trung Viet, Anh Huy and Thanh Nga taxi companies have been found cheating foreign tourists recently.

A driver with the Thanh Nga company on May 9 charged an Irish couple VND480,000 for a drive of less than two kilometers, which normally should cost VND20,000-40,000. The driver was later sacked and fined VND5 million.

Deputy PM Phuc earlier this month had ordered HCMC authorities to investigate and strictly punish those illegally protecting fake taxis in the southern metro. Relevant institutions and/or individuals ignoring the offence should also be probed, he said.

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