Taxi-book­ing apps dis­rupt air­port ser­vice

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By JIN HAIX­ING jin­haix­ing@chi­

Taxi apps are caus­ing tur­bu­lence at Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port with some pas­sen­gers get­ting taxis quickly while oth­ers are left with a sense of be­ing grounded, air­port au­thor­i­ties said.

The air­port wit­nessed a ris­ing num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing the apps as they re­turned to Bei­jing af­ter the Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day.

In­stead of wait­ing in the long line for taxis at the air­port, many used the taxi-book­ing apps.

But this has dis­rupted nor­mal ser­vice at the air­port, said Li Xiaomei, a spokes­woman for the air­port.

Li said the air­port will dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion with Bei­jing’s traf­fic au­thor­i­ties, which su­per­vise ground trans­port in the air­port area.

Ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­tion re­leased in 2012, taxi driv­ers have to re­ceive pas­sen­gers in a spe­cific area and are not al­lowed to op­er­ate their busi­ness in a car park or the air­port’s de­par­ture area.

How­ever, taxi driv­ers are al­lowed to en­ter the park­ing lot af­ter their cars are re­served by pas­sen­gers, ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion.

The air­port ad­mit­ted that the reg­u­la­tion re­leased in 2012 did not men­tion apps that have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in the last year.

Cao Haijun, a cab driver in Bei­jing, said he fre­quently re­lied on pas­sen­gers us­ing apps in the air­port.

Pas­sen­gers can re­serve a taxi in ad­vance, al­low­ing driv­ers to en­ter the air­port with­out vi­o­lat­ing reg­u­la­tions, he said.

Wang Jiansheng, a vet­eran taxi driver in Bei­jing, said some­times driv­ers wait for hours at the air­port only to get a fare for a short jour­ney.

Wang, from Beifang Taxi Co, said the pop­u­lar­ity of the apps was that both par­ties knew in ad­vance the jour­ney de­tails be­fore any deal was made.

Two wait­ing sec­tions should be es­tab­lished, Wang sug­gested, one for long jour­neys and the other for shorter trips.

In Jan­uary, In­ter­net gi­ants Ten­cent and Alibaba both launched sim­i­lar pro­mo­tion cam­paigns to en­cour­age driv­ers and pas­sen­gers to use the taxi-book­ing apps by giv­ing both driv­ers and pas­sen­gers sub­si­dies for do­ing so.

Didi Dache, the taxi-hail­ing app in co­op­er­a­tion with Ten­cent, an­nounced that from Jan 10 to Sun­day, taxi trips booked via the mo­bile pay­ment plat­form reached 21 mil­lion in 58 cities across the coun­try.

Sub­si­dies for pas­sen­gers and driv­ers reached 400 mil­lion yuan ($66 mil­lion) dur­ing the cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by Didi pro­vided to China Daily.

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