Iran’s Taxis Turning Chinese

Iran’s Taxis Turning Chinese
Iran’s Taxis Turning Chinese

Tehran Taxi Union has agreed on purchasing SAIPA’s Ario sedan as a replacement for the aging Peugeot 405 and Samand fleet of vehicles, a spokesman of the union said.

Parviz Abbasnejad added that they have decided on the Chinese-derived Ario, as it meets all the required modern standards that the organization had agreed upon prior to selecting the new vehicle.

The new car, according to Persian Khodro, is expected to be sold to local licensed taxi drivers at a special discount rate of 400 million rials ($10,900 at the free market rate). The current standard non-discounted rate for the locally produced Ario is about 700 million rials ($19,000) which is nearly 80% more.

The news of the vehicle selected for Tehran’s taxi drivers follows the recent purchase of 200 Nissan Sunnies and Qashqai SUVs in the northwestern city of Tabriz by an individual for use in the private transportation system.

Other developments in the taxi industry of late indicate the emphasis of government agencies and private unions to upgrade their fleets because of high import duties levied on large vehicles.

As recently as last month, a small fleet of hybrid Toyota Camry taxis hit the roads of the capital, with the aim of reducing pollution from that sector of the moving economy.

In addition to this, tomorrow is the last official day when the iconic Paykan taxi is legally allowed to ply the roads.

Following an enactment by Transportation and Traffic Organization of Tehran Municipality in September, all Paykan taxis are prohibited from commuting in the Traffic Zone starting Dec. 22.

“Of the 17,000 dilapidated vehicles in Tehran’s taxi fleet, 6,400 are Paykan taxis that must be phased out. The new bylaw aims to reduce pollution in the central business district,” he said.

Production of Paykan was discontinued in 2005 after the Iranian government offered Iran Khodro cash incentives to stop manufacturing the vehicle.

In the last five years, over 400,000 Iranian cars have been converted to natural gas or hybrid engines, according to the Iranian Fuel Conservation Organization.

Tehran’s authorities began requiring pollution-reducing catalytic converters on new cars when driving in downtown. In addition, Tehran Metro’s expansion and the demarcation of traffic zone have also lowered pollution levels.

Whether or not Traffic Police is able to seize the Paykan taxis remains to be seen in the coming months, though the closure of schools this week is definitely expected to reduce air pollution.