Guide shar­ing econ­omy onto the right track

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

com­plaints by pas­sen­gers at the dou­bling or even tripling of fares as Spring Fes­ti­val draws near, Didi Chux­ing, China’s largest ride-shar­ing plat­form, an­nounced onMon­day that it will ban its driv­ers from col­lect­ing the “dis­patch­ing fee”, a tip paid by pas­sen­gers, dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod. Bei­jing News com­mented on Wed­nes­day:

The fact that it is hard to hail a ride is not un­ex­pected given the 25 per­cent de­cline in the num­ber of Didi driv­ers as a re­sult of the re­cently in­tro­duced re­stric­tions and the 30 per­cent in­crease in ride re­quests, as the Bei­jing-based car-hail­ing gi­ant ex­plained. This high­lights a dilemma fac­ing the bur­geon­ing in­ter­net-based shar­ing econ­omy, which is strug­gling to strike a bal­ance be­tween mar­ket-ori­ented in­no­va­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tive su­per­vi­sion.

The rise of ride-shar­ing com­pa­nies and home swaps of­fers a fresh per­spec­tive of how to make the most of idle re­sources, be they cars and houses. Didi’s un­matched suc­cess is a case in point. It and its do­mes­tic ri­vals have made no­table progress in bridg­ing the gap be­tween ris­ing de­mand and in­suf­fi­cient sup­ply, par­tic­u­larly in the mega-cities where the num­ber of tra­di­tional taxis is re­stricted.

With more peo­ple be­com­ing ac­cus­tomed to book­ing rides on­line and more car own­ers will­ing to par­tic­i­pate,

the in­dus­try has great po­ten­tial.

It still faces ma­jor head­winds, though. The man­age­ment of ride-hail­ing ser­vices con­tra­dicts that of tra­di­tional taxis in terms of driv­ers’ pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tions, se­cu­rity risks, and tax­a­tion. Pro­vid­ing af­ford­able qual­ity ser­vices to cus­tomers while try­ing to keep afloat has been a con­stant strug­gle for most rideshar­ing com­pa­nies. For lo­cal gov­ern­ments, it re­mains a tricky task to en­sure mar­ket-based com­pe­ti­tion with­out push­ing tra­di­tional taxi driv­ers out of the busi­ness.

The short sup­ply of ride-shar­ing taxis dur­ing the travel rush dur­ing Spring Fes­ti­val is just the tip of the ice­berg, joint ef­forts will have to be made to put the shar­ing econ­omy on the right track. For their part, ser­vice providers should take more man­age­rial re­spon­si­bil­ity while of­fer­ing bet­ter ser­vices and qual­ity prod­ucts, and lo­cal su­per­vi­sory au­thor­i­ties need to em­brace in­ter­net-plus in­no­va­tions and re­frain from ma­neu­ver­ing the mar­ket.

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