New rules clear way for ride-hail­ing ser­vices


A long-awaited reg­u­la­tion giv­ing le­gal sta­tus to on­line carhail­ing ser­vices in China was re­leased by the cen­tral govern­ment on Thurs­day.

The reg­u­la­tion, ap­proved and re­leased by the State Coun­cil, aims to reg­u­late the taxi mar­ket and car-hail­ing ser­vices in China. It will take ef­fect on Nov 1.

The reg­u­la­tion also re­quires that car-hail­ing plat­forms, such as Didi Chux­ing and Uber Tech­nolo­gies, re­view the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of driv­ers and their cars to guar­an­tee safe rides.

The plat­forms are re­spon­si­ble for check­ing whether driv­ers’ pri­vate cars are in good con­di­tion and are in­sured, and they must re­port the re­sults to lo­cal trans­porta­tion bu­reaus.

The thresh­old for driv­ers to en­ter the busi­ness is also reg­u­lated. Driv­ers with three or more years of driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and a clean driv­ing record, in­clud­ing no record of dan­ger­ous driv­ing, drug abuse or drink­ing and driv­ing, are el­i­gi­ble to pro­vide car-hail­ing ser­vices.

“China has be­come the world’s largest mar­ket for car-hail­ing ser­vices,” said Liu Xiaom­ing, vice-min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion.

He added that car-hail­ing ser­vices have im­proved pas­sen­gers’ rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but also ex­posed some prob­lems, such as leaks of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion and is­sues of pas­sen­ger safety.

The reg­u­la­tion will boost car-hail­ing ser­vices in the long term, he said.

Af­ter car-hail­ing ser­vices de­buted in the coun­try in mid2014, the lower prices soon at­tracted many pas­sen­gers, prompt­ing protests from taxi driv­ers across China.

Fights be­tween taxi driv­ers and car-hail­ing ser­vice driv­ers were of­ten re­ported by the me­dia.

The an­nounce­ment of the reg­u­la­tion le­gal­iz­ing on­line car-hail­ing ser­vices dis­pels the reg­u­la­tory un­cer­tain­ties for ma­jor play­ers such as Didi and Uber, which have in­vested heav­ily while fight­ing for mar­ket dom­i­nance in China.

Both Didi and Uber wel­comed the new reg­u­la­tion in state­ments on Thurs­day, say­ing they be­lieve it will usher in new growth for China’s on­line ride book­ing in­dus­try.

“We are pleased to see in the rule that a li­cens­ing and reg­u­la­tory frame­work is cre­ated for ride-shar­ing plat­forms, driv­ers and ve­hi­cles,” Bei­jing-based Didi said in a state­ment. The com­pany said that “soon it will ini­ti­ate the ap­pli­ca­tion for the ap­pro­pri­ate li­censes”.

Liu Zhen, senior vice-pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate strat­egy for Uber China, said the com­pany is “reg­u­la­tion ready” and “looks for­ward to work­ing with pol­i­cy­mak­ers around the coun­try to put the reg­u­la­tion into prac­tice”.

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