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Taxi subsidy bid to fight pollution in Shanghai

2015-03-24 09:12 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

The city government is tempting taxi operators with subsidies to combat air pollution in the city, authorities said yesterday. Taxi companies will be given a subsidy of 1,300 yuan (US$209.68) for every taxi that is fitted with vehicle exhaust purifying facilities of a listed maker and type. But two companies Shanghai Daily spoke to said they had not heard of any incentives on offer, while insisting that the taxis were already fitted with the filters.

The subsidies are for taxis that are registered in the city between January, 2010 and April last year and have been on the road for at least one year.

The purifying facilities, namely three-way catalytic converters, must be of certain type and from listed producers approved by the environmental protection authorities. The application for subsidy should be made by taxi operators and submitted to the city's traffic management authorities before September 30, according to a notification released by the city's traffic authority yesterday.

A catalytic converter is a vehicle emissions control device that converts toxic pollutants in exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction.

The city has about 50,000 taxis. Vehicles, ships and aircraft account for 29.2 percent of the total emission of Shanghai's PM2.5 sources.

Taxi operators will not be allowed to charge either drivers or consumers for the change, the notice said.

Last year, Zhang Quan, head of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said the city planned to hasten the frequency of change of the converters for taxis from the five to eight years currently to every two to three years now.

Both Shanghai Dazhong and Shanghai Qiangsheng taxi companies said they had not heard of the incentives yet.

An official with Dazhong, surnamed Ling, said all Dazhong taxis were already fitted with three-way catalytic converters but he did not know about the frequency of changes and whether the converters were of the type or bought from the makers listed by authorities — a requisite for the subsidy.

Ling said taxis have to be fitted with the catalytic converters before they hit the roads.

The cost of the converters vary from several hundreds to thousands of yuan depending on the type of cars. Vehicles discharging thick black smoke face fines of up to 2,000 yuan.

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