Local governments in China are stepping up efforts to rein in the use of taxi-hailing apps amid concerns that such tools could disrupt the regular market order, and also due to fears that the mobile apps could distract the drivers and endanger passenger safety.
Taking the lead of Beijing and Shanghai, which had recently imposed some restrictions on the use of taxi apps, authorities in Suzhou are now implementing their own measures, Modern Express newspaper reported Thursday.
The local government is mulling a ban on the use of “Didi Taxi”, a software tool backed by Tencent Holdings (00700.HK), and other similar applications, the report said.
Transport authorities in Suzhou are planning to control the use of such software by requiring the application operators to connect their software to an existing taxi calling platform, it said. The move is aimed at ensuring better and collective supervision. Alibaba-backed software “Kuaidi Taxi” and five other taxi-calling applications are said to have docked with certain platforms, but not “Didi Taxi”.
Suzhou officials are worried that the use of taxi-hailing apps could result in more traffic accidents as drivers may be too focused on their mobile screens. Meanwhile, passengers may have no way of identifying specific drivers if software is installed and used by individual drivers rather than by a taxi-calling platform, People’s Daily Online reported.
Stricter regulation can also curb potential malpractice in charging higher fares and other market disorders.
Beijing had earlier limited taxi drivers to installing only one taxi-calling application, while Shanghai has banned the use of such apps during peak hours in the morning and evening.
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