Yesterday, the Beijing Transportation Bureau issued the Regulation for Taxi E-hail Services and put it on trial. According to the regulation, the service rate for the booking service should not exceed the standard taxi fare of e-hail service of the city, RMB 6(4 hours in advance) and RMB 5 (within 4 hours).
Last month, local government-backed 96106 was launched in Beijing that allows passengers to place orders via phone call, PC, and mobile devices. However, the booking platform didn’t interest taxi drivers. They are still tending to use other e-hail apps because those apps allow users to bid the taxi rates running from RMB 5 up to RMB 20, as reported (in Chinese). Another reason that they ‘d like to use those bidding apps is they will get paid anyway by the app service even if they have no-show.
The regulation reads that the mobile e-booking service operators should sign an agreement in cooperation with 96106 and join in the platform. And those e-booking apps should apply for a license.
Obviously, the issuance of this regulation means that Chinese regulators have taken notice of the order of taxi trade market and stepped in. Traffic department in Beijing called a halt to this bidding function. Shanghai transportation bureau also claimed that this bidding model was not allowed, and Shenzhen government reportedly tried to ban taxi apps altogether.
Uber (a taxi smart phone application) hit a major roadblock in NYC earlier this year. But now it’s spreading across the United States after getting final approval to be the first e-hail service in NYC and making its advancing move with a wider international roll-out and recruiting based in Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangalore, and Auckland. Before that, it has already officially launched in Singapore and Tokyo. It seems that Uber has already worked out a blueprint for its global expansion. If it can take over most of the major markets early, it will possibly have a major success in e-hail private car service realm. And we couldn’t help wondering, facing a whole another restrictive environment in China; will Uber find its own way to get the golden ticket?
Update: Recently, Shanghai also put a ban on taxi apps with features of bidding, destination and information of passengers display. Meanwhile, the government regulations also say that taxi drivers should charge according to the meter with no extra fees. The local government only allows the drivers to provide the bid service offered by the booking platform via phone calls, PC or other mobile devices(source in Chinese).