Shang­hai gives of­fi­cial nod to car-hail­ing app

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINESE TRAIN PROJECTS AROUND THE WORLD - ByWUYIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shang­hai will start an on­line car-hail­ing ser­vices plat­form soon, the first city in China to le­gal­ize car-hail­ing smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tions via an of­fi­cial public ser­vices func­tion.

To be launched on June 1, the of­fi­cially backed ser­vice will be jointly op­er­ated by its traf­fic and trans­porta­tion au­thor­i­ties, taxi com­pa­nies and third-party car hail­ing ser­vice provider Didi Dache.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, driv­ers who al­ready use the Didi and Kuaidi apps to take carhail­ing or­ders can join the scheme af­ter Didi Dache, which hosts the two apps, re­vealed it will join the new plat­form.

The two apps cur­rently hold a com­bined 78 per­cent share of Shang­hai’s car-book­ing mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to data from Analysys In­ter­na­tional, the mar­ket re­search in­for­ma­tion ser­vices provider.

Mar­ket ri­val Uber, the Amer­i­can trans­porta­tion net­work com­pany head­quar­tered in San Fran­cisco, which launched in China in 2014, is not in­cluded in the new plat­form.

Uber has an 11 per­cent mar­ket share in China, ac­cord­ing to Analysys, but has been un­der close scru­tiny by the au­thor­i­ties in many cities across the coun­try.

There were 172 mil­lion mo­bile app, car-book­ing ac­counts open in China last year, ac­cord­ing to data from app de­vel­op­ers.

Of­fi­cials said Shang­hai’s new plat­form will al­low car hailers to iden­tify the driver’s pro­file to see if they are reg­is­tered taxi driv­ers, or driv­ers of un­li­censed “black-car”.

When a taxi is oc­cu­pied, no book­ing re­quests will be sent to the driver’s phone.

Taxi driv­ers said the new plat­form will en­hance ef­fi­ciency and cut out any con­fu­sion.

“In the past Didi apps and the taxi com­pany plat­forms were sep­a­rate, so when I took an or­der via app, hailers may still seemy car’s top light read­ing ‘avail­able’, which causes mis­un­der­stand­ing,” said Wang Jian­min, a 42-year-old taxi driver in Shang­hai.

“With the new plat­form, my car’s top light can be con­sis­tent with my book­ing sta­tus.”

An­a­lysts said Shang­hai’s move to give third-party, carhail­ing apps of­fi­cial public back­ing­may in­spire other cities to fol­low suit, help­ing de­velop and grow the mar­ket.

China’s trans­porta­tion min­istry banned pri­vate cars from of­fer­ing un­li­censed taxi rides via smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tions in Jan­uary.

Bei­jing’s city gov­ern­ment has fined count­less unau­tho­rized ve­hi­cles for ac­cept­ing or­ders placed via apps, and of­fer­ing driv­ing ser­vices.

XIN­HUA

Taxis on the road in Shang­hai. The city will le­gal­ize car-hail­ing smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tions via an of­fi­cial public ser­vices func­tion.

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