Regulations urged for ride-hailing app firms

Shanghai lawmakers are seeking tougher regulations on online ride-hailing services as unfair competition between app service providers and conventional taxi industry continues to grow.

Fan Yun, chairman of Fushen Evaluation & Advisory Group and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, initiated a proposal on ride-hailing services during the two sessions, urging the NPC to work on laws to monitor the ride-hailing app firms.

“I think when a new industry emerges, we should encourage it. It’s good to see a healthy market and positive competition,” Fan said. “However, the taxi industry is being pushed aside due to unfair competition while the online car-hailing service providers are hiking prices and cherry-picking customers.”

Fan said she once hailed a car online but the driver said it would take 15 minutes to get there. Since it was raining heavily, the driver asked to cancel the order. She then decided to take the Metro. However, later she was informed that she needed to pay a fine for the “late” cancellation, which may also harm her credit on this platform. She tried to make complaint to the company, but the call was never received.

Data on the proposal show that after the nation issued two documents on the management of online ride-hailing services, 133 of the country’s 338 major cities announced detailed plan for the taxi industry.

Currently, some car-hailing apps are still found violating rules, like having cars on the roads without appropriate driving license and false information about drivers.

It also shows that police in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, received more than 1,000 calls related to online ride-hailing service in June last year, some of them involved crime, including robbery and beating up passengers.

Moreover, some ride-hailing platforms raised their prices significantly during the rush hours or under poor weather.

The taxi industry encountered unfair competition, affecting their businesses and hurting the cabbies’ income.

Fan and other deputies proposed a law on management of online car-hailing services.

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