In 1913, a French company took the first place to open a company which offered transportation service for passengers at charges applied basis. The company was situated at Dongdan, the busiest business district in Beijing during that time. The major task of this company is to provide transportation services primarily for foreigner staffs of embassies, bureaucrats as well as foreigners. The common behavior that passenger tend to request for a transportation service through the operational centre was one of the outcome of servicing method introduced by this company.
The first type of vehicle which was used as taxi in Beijing in 1913 was the US made Ford Model T. Many of the early Ford Model T were designed to have open-bodied cabins and did not have opening door for drivers. In the early stage of 20th century, most of the taxis in Beijing were American made, such as Chevrolet and Buick or Fiat which was Italian made. However, due to the high charges for used of automobiles, the taxi service in Beijing did not spread widely among the citizens. The man-powered rickshaws were more popular among the people as this was much cheaper and easier when compared with the automobile one.
Mini van or more commonly known as Mian Di which was made in Tianjin city by technology imported from Japan was one of the first mass available taxis in Beijing. This type of taxis had been used for about 15 years since 1984 onwards. The Mian Di was normally painted with bright yellow color and could enable seat for a total of 8 persons in their restricted areas. The capability of Mian Di to cruise along streets of the capital with carriage of either people or cargo was the most attracted selling point as it charged for 10 RMB only to drive for a distance of 10 km. Although this type of yellow cab might not able to offer a high level of comfortable, it had fulfilled the needs of entire society during that period of time. Anyway, these kind of yellow cabs were soon traded in for dark red Jettas in the end of 20th century.
Following by the removal of Mian Di from the streets of Beijing, Xiali was the first common used taxis in Beijing. However, since it was not air-conditioned, the usage of Fukang and Jetta had overtaken its number just after a short while. Thus, the dark red Jetta started to took over their place as the most common taxis here. Later, the dark red color became the theme color of second generation of taxi in Beijing. Together with the improvement of living quality as well as the increase of average salary, the public began to demand for better service and require for comfortable surrounding while traveling by taxis. Thus, a full stop was placed in the history of service by Mian Di in the end of year 2000. From 1998 to 2006, Fukang and Jetta had monopolized the market of taxi usage in Beijing due to their physical advantages. Even until today, the Jettas are still served as one of the most common used vehicle model of Beijing taxis.
Even though Beijing is the capital of China, it is a fact that the taxi servicing industry is not as good as other cities throughout the nation. In 2004, regeneration and upgrading of taxi was taken place again in Beijing. Besides the upgrade of taxi model, there was an increase of taxi charges too. As a result, the new model of Hyundai, Elantra turned out to be the winner of this game. In the same year, the taxi rate in Beijing was realigned to 2.3 RMB/US $0.3 per km. All these circumstances had ensured the sales of Elantra to be one of the highest in Beijing during that period of time.
After that, the color of Beijing taxi was unified by the authority of Beijing city in order for the reason of easy to recognize while creates a standardized image of Beijing taxi. The body of taxi is fixed to be 3-stripes-2-colors. The middle stripe is a golden yellow color while the rest of the body in another color which are commonly blue, green or red. Besides that, the roof light of each taxi as well as both front doors would have printed the name of Taxi Company.
As a preparation for Beijing Olympic 2008, TX4 a new type of barrier-free taxi was introduced in Beijing. The charges for this type of taxi are similar when compared to the rest. The barrier-free design which enables larger space inside, with low fuel consumption, mechanical systems which lasts for longer duration of usage as well as well-known leading safety and technology applied have therefore ensured this model to be the most classic taxi in Britain. Basically the seat next to driver is not seated but serve as a place for luggage placement. Driver and passenger seat is separated with a piece of glass baffle for security purposes. Communication between the driver and passengers need to be going through a hole on the baffle. The width and height of the inner space is conveniently designed to suit the need of handicapped personnel. There are a total of 5 seats for passengers including two folding seats. In the case of three passengers only, the inner space will turn to be extremely large.
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