Unlicensed and other fraudulent taxis that fleece customers continue to be a major headache for Ho Chi Minh City authorities.

The Department of Transport reported that one in 15 taxis in the city operates without a licence, and transport inspectors have discovered and fined many of them.

The department has revoked the licences of two taxi operators but there are fears they may still be operating clandestinely.

The illegal taxis are mostly driven by people who used to work for big taxi companies before quitting and starting their own operation.

More and more disgruntled customers, local and foreign, are complaining about the illegal taxis.
The department said the best way to tackle the problem is for its inspectors to establish close links with the traffic police, taxi operators, and local authorities.

In 2010, the city government banned fleet expansion by taxi companies as it sought to improve oversight of taxi operations, which had become difficult due to the explosion in the number of vehicles.

While the regulation only allows the city's 36 taxi businesses and co-operatives to replace old vehicles, many taxi operators in neighbouring provinces like Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Long An took the chance to develop their business in the city.

The number of taxis on the city's streets has skyrocketed to more than 12,500, or 84 percent of the number initially expected to operate by 2020.

Experts estimate that they meet 2-3 percent of the city's public transport needs.-VNA