China has issued rules to regulate taxi-hailing applications amid concerns that such tools could disrupt the market order, the Beijing Times reported on Friday, citing the Ministry of Transport.
Under the rules, all existing taxi-hailing apps, including Tencent’s DiDi and Alibaba’s Kuaidi, will be unified under a single platform, which will handle all passenger data before they reach the drivers’ mobile terminals, the report said.
Requests can only be sent to drivers of unloaded taxies to protect the safety of passengers amid worries that drivers are focused on their mobile screens while driving, which could lead to more traffic accidents.
Taxis are also prohibited from using the apps in airports and railway stations where a control center will be set up, according to the newspaper.
Malpractices such as charging of fares above what regulators have established will be dealt with severely.
Local governments have been tasked to help implement the new regulations.
Even before the new rules came out, the Beijing municipal government has ordered taxi drivers to install only one taxi-calling application, while Shanghai has banned the use of such apps during peak hours, the report said.
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