Car-hailing rules aim to improve urban traffic

By Du Juan and Xu Junqian | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-22 08:21

Car-hailing rules aim to improve urban traffic

A Chinese mobile phone user uses the taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing on her smartphone. [Photo/Xinhua]

Transport authorities in Beijing and Shanghai introduced rules on car-hailing services on Wednesday, aiming to regulate the industry and improve city traffic.

According to the rules, which were opened for public opinion in October, drivers from car-hailing platforms such as Didi Chuxing are required to have local household registration and vehicles must have local license plates.

Ma Rui, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Transport Commission, said that during the opinion collection period only 25 percent of the suggestions opposed the regulation on drivers' household registration.

However, many changes were made, such as the standard for engine displacement being lowered from 2 liters to 1.8 liters, and the wheelbase requirement lowered from 270 cm to 265 cm in Beijing.

Ma said the changes allow more vehicles to be used for car-hailing services. Meanwhile, the standards are higher than for taxis, which will differentiate the services.

Zhou Zhengyu, head of the commission, said that unlike many other countries, China has already given legal status to car-hailing services.

"We are making efforts to integrate the development of the traditional taxi industry and car-hailing industry," he said.

For Shanghai, similar changes were made. Compared with previous draft rules, the minimum wheelbase of vehicles allowed to offer car-hailing services was lowered from 270 cm to 260 cm, and applies to vehicles fueled by gasoline and renewable energy.

Ding Zhe, a Beijing citizen who often uses car-hailing applications, said he has noticed a growing number of cars with plates registered outside of Beijing, which has caused severe congestion.

"Sometimes, they don't follow traffic rules and park their car in random places," he said. "I'm glad that the authorities decided to regulate the cars in the industry. I would happily pay a bit more money for better service and a better traveling condition on the road."

Han Jun, a driver with car-hailing platform Didi, said he has been working full-time in the industry for one year, but his car would not qualify under the new rules.

"I used to be a taxi driver in Beijing. When I saw that people could make more money with the platform, I quit my job and became a Didi driver using my own car," Han said.

"Now, I have two choices: I can go back to being a taxi driver again or upgrade my car to stay in this industry," he said. "I have to talk with my family and see which is a better choice."

The Beijing government said car-hailing platforms have five months to eliminate unqualified cars and drivers, while in Shanghai the rules are effective immediately.

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