Most taxi apps allow users to bid the taxi rates. For instance, if you are willing to bid an extra RMB 15 apart from the metered rate, you are more likely to see a taxi driver coming to you faster than ever, especially in the rush hours when more users are looking for a ride. Taxi drivers using the apps can judge according to the locations and bids from different users and pick up the passenger suits them the best.

But Chinese officials are not happy with the model. The traditional taxi booking service in most cities charges 3-5 yuan for each order while taxi apps don’t do in this way. Regulators stepped in. Beijing’s traffic department strictly called for the cancellation of this function. Shanghai transportation bureau also claimed that the bidding service is not allowed and also encouraged citizens to use taxi apps offered by taxi companies. Shenzhen government reportedly tries to ban taxi apps altogether.

When asked about those regulations, Lv Chuanwei, CEO of KuaidiDache responded that the company would respect the regulations from the government, “bidding feature is just a selling point for the taxi apps actually, users who tried this function cover only 20% of the total. Usually bidding deals are made at the evening rush hours, which do not literally affect the success rate for other passengers.” Another peer player DidiDache also claimed that the to-be-released latest version had removed this function according to the regulations.

The related regulation on taxi booking management in Beijing will be in trial starting from 1st of next month. According to the regulation, a united booking operation platform for placing orders through phone call, PC, and mobile devices will be offered for 24 hours, 7 days a week. The service rate for the booking service has been adjusted to RMB 8(4 hours in advance, 99% success rate), and RMB 5 (within 4 hours). On this side, mobile taxi apps all pointed out that they would not charge passengers for the booking service.

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动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at)

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