Taxi drivers in China have gone on strike over ride-hailing smartphone apps, fare cuts and high cab rental fees that they say have severely eroded their income, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“We can’t get by on such a small income,” said a cabdriver surnamed Chen, who said he earns only 50 yuan (US$$8) a day after expenses. He and his fellow taxi drivers in the northeastern city of Changchun entered a third day of strikes on Wednesday.
Drivers in the eastern city of Nanjing went on strike last Friday after the local government lowered the mandated taxi fares. They are also protesting the steep leasing fees paid to taxi companies, which amount to about 4,600 yuan a month.
“After taking into account the vehicle-purchasing cost, the license fee and maintenance and repair costs, I earn only about 4,000 yuan a month,” driver Jiang Jian was quoted as saying. “That’s too little.”
The strikes have spread to Chengdu, Nanchang, Shenyang and Qingdao, WSJ said, citing local media reports and Hong Kong-based rights group China Labour Bulletin.
Taxi drivers are also complaining about what they consider as unfair competition posed by mobile apps from companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Kuaidi Group, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
The apps allow passengers to negotiate fares with taxi drivers or tap a privately run but licensed fleet for a higher price, the newspaper said.
Taxi drivers complain that some passengers are using the apps to secure rides from unlicensed, private drivers.
“Many of my colleagues have quit. They are now unlicensed drivers, using mobile apps such as Didi Dache to pick up passengers. They earn more than twice than I,” said Jiang, the Nanjing driver.
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