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Leap Day Shutdown for Guangzhou’s Taximeters


Guangzhou’s factories are famous for operating like clockwork, but furious residents of the southern metropolis have been accusing one local manufacturer of forgetting about Feb 29.


China National Radio quoted taxi drivers saying that around a third of the city’s 10,000 cabs were put out of action this morning, when drivers got into their cars and discovered their taximeters had stopped working. 

Local newspapers and internet users have suggested that the drivers might have been hit by a 2012 strain of the millennium bug that terrified the world in 1999.  

Commentators in Guangzhou suggested that Feb 29 had the same effect on the taximeters as Jan 1, 2000 did on devices that only used two digits to record the year.

Their theory doesn’t explain why the primitive taximeters wouldn’t have gone straight to March 1, but the timing of the power-off is still likely to attract attention because it comes the day after rumors that Beijing’s taxi drivers abandonded a planned strike.

Guangzhou’s more skeptical commenters had a less exciting explanation – they linked the taximeter’s malfunctions to the city’s attempt to integrate 1,000 new taxis the previous day.


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