Shanghai takes steps to regulate taxi-hailing app services
Tue 19 May 2015
Shanghai has announced this week that it will be working to better regulate smartphone-enabled taxi-hailing apps within the city and that the changes will come into effect from 1st June this summer.
The initiative would make Shanghai the first city in China to authorise an industry which faces nationwide roadblocks to its services over legitimacy concerns.
Transport officials said that data from the government’s log of taxis and drivers, from the dispatching systems used by the city’s four largest taxi firms, as well as from the popular taxi-hailing app Didi Dache would be compiled to support the new regulations. Vehicles registered to the Didi Dache network will also have their ‘pirate cab’ status removed.
“It is the very first breakthrough in reforming the designated driving services,” said Li Min, a Didi spokesperson. “Didi is the first car-hailing software company involved in such a program with the government and there are no other cities joining Shanghai on this front at the moment.”
According to the city authorities, the move to legitimise taxi-hailing services would help tackle the problem of private car drivers using the app illegally to transport passengers. They hope that it will also prevent taxi drivers from gathering data about their passengers, stop them from looking at their phones while driving and improve road safety.
Sun Jianping, head of the city’s transport commission, commented that Shanghai’s government has not yet decided how best to regulate the services. He did however suggest that the city is aiming to help meet commuter demand for transport during rush hours rather than at other times of the day.
Jianping added that the government will still prioritise regulatory deals with domestic taxi-hailing firms over partnerships with international companies. This clearly points a finger at U.S. Uber which continues its struggle with legalities in Shanghai and the rest of China.
A concrete plan is expected to be drawn up by the government regarding car-hiring and taxi-hailing over the next few months.