China’s first motorcycle ride-hailing service gets shut down in 3 days

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Most startups launched are destined to fail and it looks like another ambitious project in China has run out of luck. Inspired by motorcycle ride-hailing services such as Grab, Lude Chuxing or Donkey Ride (our translation) launched an app enabling residents to drive passengers on electric and gas-fueled motorbikes and three-wheeled electric cars known as “sanlunche.”

According to media reports, the app was downloaded more than 5000 times in its first day of operation. The app known as Didi for bikes was developed by a company in the Chinese city of Nanning and during its short stint, residents could see drivers in bright green vests driving passengers around the city.

Screenshot from Donkey Ride’s app.

However, the local transport authorities did not condone the entrepreneurial spirit of the drivers and Donkey Ride’s services were halted on December 18th due to violations of local transport services rules. According to regulations, owners of electric motorbikes should apply for registration which includes submitting the drivers’ identity card, vehicle certifications, insurance and other documentation.

Nanning’s residents were polarized around the new service. Some praised Donkey Ride as a dirt cheap and environment-friendly solution for avoiding traffic jams but others warned that many drivers were driving too fast and disregarding traffic rules.

Nanning in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China is known as the “city of electric bikes.” The number of registered electric motorbikes reached 2.51 million units in July 2017, the highest number in China, meaning that the likelihood of traffic accidents is even higher.

Renting electric bikes has also come under scrutiny with several cities in China including Nanning, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Zhengzhou banning the practice.