Academics are calling on the government to launch an etiquette campaign and revise the law to fine passengers who improperly stop taxis.
The call comes after a recent accident in which a taxi suddenly stopped in response to a waving customer, resulting in the death of a college student on a motorcycle behind the cab. The student was run over by another vehicle.
Statistics have shown that taxis, in a bid to get a passenger ahead of other cabs, often suddenly shift lanes or put on their brakes, catching those behind the vehicle off guard.
According to statistics, from last year to June this year, the most common cause of traffic accidents related to taxis was not yielding to other vehicles. An average of five such cases occur a day.
The law stipulates that vehicles will be fined between NT$300 and NT$600 if they stop at pedestrian crossings, crossroads, bus stops or other places that prohibit temporary parking. However, because of limited numbers of police officers, coupled with the short time it takes for a passenger to board a taxi, tickets are seldom issued for these violations.
“Improperly stopping a taxi is very dangerous,” said Lee Ke-tsung (李克聰), a professor at Feng Chia University.
He urged the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and local governments to work together to formulate regulations that would help the public’s habits change.
He wants designated taxi stands and traffic signs prohibiting taxi pickups, as well as an awareness campaign.
The ministry said it is not considering revising the law to fine passengers for improperly hailing a taxi. Instead, they are trying to enhance traffic safety by asking passengers to call cabs at designated convenience stores, given the country’s high density of convenience stores.
The ministry is also reviewing traffic signs near convenience stores and changing red parking lines to yellow lines to allow taxis to park temporarily.