From the Chinese press
Updated: 2013-05-03 07:10
Solving cabbies' income problem
Media reports say that the current fuel surcharge for taxis in Beijing will be withdrawn in June following a public hearing on taxi fare this month. But that may not be the best way to deal with the taxi fare problem, says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts:
Taxi drivers have been complaining that they do not make enough money because they have to pay a large part of their incomes to taxi operating companies and suffer losses owing to severe traffic jams in Beijing. So going by economic laws, it would be reasonable to increase taxi fare to improve cabbies' income, with many people suggesting that the entire extra revenue should go to cabbies.
But taxi drivers' problems cannot be solved just by raising the fare. For example, taxi service in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has not improved despite a substantial increase in taxi fare.
Besides, some cabbies are not in favor of raising fare for fear of losing passengers. The key issue lies in the operation system. Chinese cities follow two management modes. According to one, taxi enterprises own the license and rent out a vehicle to a driver. In the second, the owner of a taxi gets the operating license after a high price and is entitled to either drive the vehicle himself/herself or rent it out to someone else. But in both cases, relevant departments and affiliated enterprises share the profit.
Therefore, taxi drivers' income can increase only when this system is changed. The experience of other metropolises in the world, such as London and Tokyo, show that the market should play the most important role in taxi services instead of government departments managing the operating license system and dictating terms to cabbies.
Psychological education vital
Police suspect that a postgraduate medical student in Shanghai died after being poisoned by a roommate. Similar cases have drawn the authorities' attention to the relationship among roommates in university dormitories. In fact, a recent survey shows that students now consider the dorm a complicated place, reflecting their poor psychological health, says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:
University students in China generally suffer from two types of psychological problems because little attention is paid to their psychological education in senior and junior schools, where the focus is on scoring subjects.
Some schools do organize a few lectures on psychological counseling guidance before some big exams, and that's it. Moreover, most mental health education is about theoretical knowledge, which cannot help students in practical life.
Even if a student gets admission to a top university, it doesn't mean that he or she is psychologically healthy. Also, because of parents' and teachers' emphasis on test scores, students' psychological health tends to get ignored.
But we should not wait until some serious incidents, like a suicide or crime, takes place to realize the importance of psychological education. Thus it's necessary for colleges and universities to hold psychological education classes for freshmen for their initiation into campus life.
Although the Ministry of Education has made it mandatory for universities to have a compulsory psychology course with full-time teachers to ensure students' psychological health, many schools and parents still don't think highly of it. Therefore, more needs to be done to change the situation.
(China Daily 05/03/2013 page9)