Vietnam metro declares war on illegal taxis

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Ho Chi Minh City authorities will dispatch more traffic inspectors to crowded tourist spots to curb illegal taxis and aggressive vendors, a senior official said on Tuesday (June 7).

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the HCMC People's Committee, told Thanh Nien that city officials met on Tuesday to discuss ways to ensure the safety for foreign tourists.

Hong said the committee asked the Transport Department to allocate more traffic inspectors to work with youth volunteers to help curb illegal taxis in downtown HCMC.

The committee also ordered police stations throughout the city center to dispatch more men to prevent street vendors from hassling and cheating foreign tourists at popular spots, she said.

City officials plan to establish a hotline so that tourists can report problems to city authorities if they are hassled or cheated.

The HCMC Police Department and the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism have also pledged to provide travel companies with information about how to prepare reports in the event tourists are cheated, Hong said.

The companies themselves should make plans to protect their customers and provide tourists with more tips to protect their property, she added.

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Re: TAKEN FOR A RIDE (Issue No.86, May 20-26)
Taken for a ride
Illegal taxis still deceiving Vietnam metro customers

Illegal taxis have plagued HCMC for several years but they came into the spotlight last month, after a Malaysian journalist lodged a complaint with Mai Linh Taxi Company that she was coerced into paying exorbitant fees for a short ride.

Company officers investigated her complaint and found that she had been conned into taking an unlicensed vehicle posing as a Mai Linh taxi.

Following the case, Thanh Nien discovered a number of unlicensed taxis imitating popular corporate brands outside the Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market, Bach Dang Wharf and other popular destinations.

The fake taxis were branded with logos that resembled Mai Linh and Vinasun's. Their names included M.Group, Vinasum, Vina, Vinamet, Taxi Meter, and Meter Taxi.

Volunteer teams assigned to help tourists reported numerous cons perpetrated by taxi drivers and aggressive street vendors on foreign visitors.

In some cases, when the passengers refused to pay the inflated fares, the drivers insulted and threatened foreigners.

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