Mon, Oct 17, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Blue taxi spared by regulation turns heads in Pingtung

By Chen Yan-ting and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taxi driver Lin Chien-hsiung poses with his diesel-powered Yulong Motor Victory 803 in Pingtung County on Sept. 4.

Photo: Chen Yen-ting, Taipei Times

A taxi in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) is famous among locals because of its unusual blue color.

The diesel-powered Yulong Motor Victory 803 was permitted to keep its original paint because it was licensed before a regulation that required taxis to be painted in yellow, said the car’s owner and driver, Lin Chien-hsiung (林健雄).

Lin, 63, who works for Pihsing Taxi Co Ltd, said that in 1980, he traveled by airplane for the first time to pick up the car in Taipei and he drove it home.

He said he paid more than NT$40,000 for the vehicle and still drives it around the township hospital and harbor area.

At the time, Yulong cars were very popular and almost every vehicle on the nation’s roads was a Yulong Motors automobile, Lin said.

The 1980s were a golden age for taxi drivers and Yulong automobiles, Lin said.

“There were not a lot of private cars and people used taxis for everything: business trips, private outings and even for couples going to their own weddings. I drove people to Hualien all the time until they built the South Link Line,” he said.

Lin said he developed a dependable clientele over the years, particularly people of a certain age who told him that they could not get used to the feel of the rides in modern cars.

“They say the new cars are not stable and that they get vertigo,” he said, adding that many call the taxi company asking for him to go to the hospital or visit their friends.

He has been stopped multiple times by traffic police who were not aware that his blue taxi is legal, Lin said, adding that everything in his car is up to standard and he has never been in an accident.

The 1991 regulation to standardize taxi colors is not retroactive, the Kaohsiung Motor Vehicles Office said, adding that taxis that obtained their licenses prior to the regulation were permitted to keep their colors under a “grandfather” clause.

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