Thousands of Chinese taxi app drivers found with criminal records
Thu 31 Mar 2016
Southern Chinese authorities have uncovered that thousands of drivers working for ride-hailing apps, such as Didi Kuaidi and Uber, have criminal records ranging from drug-related crimes to traffic violations.
A conference held by the city of Shenzhen’s transport committee on Tuesday brought together top level executives from apps including Uber and its Chinese rival Didi Kuaidi, as well as Zuche and ihavecar.com. According to local news site sznews.com [Chinese], the group discussed safety problems and regulation.
The southern Chinese city declared car-hailing apps illegal last year, but since then authorities have had to continue their fight against the popular service. Now, talks are approaching the idea of moving with the industry and looking into regulating it more effectively.
A review, conducted by the committee, found that a total of 1,425 private drivers working for these companies had records of drug abuse. A further 1,661 had criminal records related to other offences. In one case, a driver was a registered psychiatric patient with a history of violence.
3,600 drivers had also been found to have been involved in traffic accidents while working for one of the apps.
The city’s transport committee drew on these statistics and blamed the apps for not doing enough to ensure a high-quality selection process. The group also brought to the operators’ attention that 300,000 drivers had been hired last year with number plates registered in other cities, which it argued is raising congestion and tailbacks.
During the meeting, company executives were told to ‘restructure’ their services to comply with the local regulations, within a certain time frame. These measures included firing any unqualified drivers – those with criminal records, or without local number plates – and stopping any operation which leads to an unfair playing field.
Earlier this month, the central Chinese government announced its official approval of services provided by companies such as Uber and Didi Kuaidi. At the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, Chinese Minister of Transport, Yang Chuantang, said: “As a new invention, online ride-hailing services have been a good experience for consumers, and welcomed by some passengers. So our solution is to provide a legal way.”