Thursday, January 01, 2009

Shanghai drivers still to pay fee

Car owners in Shanghai will still have to pay an automobile transit fee for road construction next year despite the nationwide fuel-pricing and tax reforms which abolished 1,200 yuan (US$175) of road maintenance fees, the Shanghai Development and Reform Committee said over the weekend.

It also said the city's taxi fares are expected to remain the same for the moment.

China is raising fuel consumption taxes from next year as part of a revamped fuel-pricing regime to boost energy efficiency and sustain economic growth.

The reform includes a cut in current fuel prices as well as the abolition of several fixed charges including road maintenance fees and charges for second-tier road tolls.

Officials from the committee said the annual 1,800-yuan transit fee for road construction with loans in Shanghai would be maintained next year as it is not included in the charging items for second-tier road tolls.

"It is set up in line with government regulation, so it will not be scrapped next year," the committee said.

Meanwhile, concerns had been raised about a possible rise in the cost of taking a taxi, as the new fuel-pricing mechanism aims to encourage drivers to drive less by putting most of the cost on fuel consumption.

Committee officials said taxi fares would not be raised in the new year and the government had agreed to continue the temporary fuel subsidy to taxi drivers to protect their incomes.

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