Marbridge Daily

April 22, 2013

Beijing to Regulate Taxi Booking Apps

Beijing Times, 4/21/13

An employee of the Beijing municipal commission of transport revealed that the body is looking into establishing a unified platform for mobile taxi booking, and into "cleaning up" some of the for-profit taxi-booking services currently offering mobile applications. The unified taxi-booking platform would offer similar functionality to what is currently available from apps on the marketplace, and will be operated according to competition between private companies. Some less-used mobile taxi-booking apps will naturally be pushed out of the market, the employee said.

Li Xiaoxong, the spokesperson for the Beijing municipal commission of transport, previously said that the government would support the "reasonable and legal development" of high-tech products by companies as a means of resolving customer difficulties in booking cabs. The practice of charging additional service-fees for taxi-booking, however, constitutes a covert negotiation of fees, which is forbidden under Beijing's administrative regulations for taxicabs. Governmental authorities will bring the industry in line with regulations.

Roughly 30% of Beijing cab drivers currently use mobile taxi-booking applications, including "Didi Dache" and "Yaoyao Zhaoche." Some of the applications offer "additional fee" functionality, which allow prospective passengers to pay an optional gratuity (ranging from RMB 5 to RMB 20) for greater ease in booking cabs during morning and evening rush hours or from less-trafficked areas.

 
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