It has been five months since the Chinese Ministry of Transport released a draft of a new set of rules for ride-hailing businesses in China. Until now, all parties are still waiting for the official enactment of the new regulations; however, restrictions on “illegal” platforms by local governments have been stringent this year more than ever.
Guangzhou’s Municipal Transportation Commission released a circular on Wednesday that said that under its supervision, major car-hailing platforms had cleared out about 145,000 private cars in the city of Guangzhou that had been operating illegally, reported the Guangzhou Daily.
The move by Guangzhou followed a circular made by the Shenzhen Transportation Commission on Tuesday saying that 1,425 drivers based on ride-hailing platforms were found to have criminal records of drug use and 1,661 drivers have major criminal histories. Warnings were given to industry heavyweights including Didi and Uber. They have been asked to perform stricter background checks before approving drivers or risk being added to a public list of companies exposed for bad practices.
Didi gave a quick response, saying they will adopt a strategy for driver qualification inspection that denies applications from those who have certain bad records. But some platforms expressed frustration at having no access to those records that are under the control of governmental departments.
Actually, prior to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Shanghai had been conducting a sweeping action to combat traffic law violations since the start of last week. The city’s main target of attack includes private cars based on online ride-hailing platforms that have no taxi service license. When caught, drivers are ticketed from RMB 2,000 to 50,000.
Besides drivers, platforms are also being pursued. Didi is reportedly under investigation. Last January, Didi was the first platform fined by the law enforcement department of Shanghai’s transportation commission. Later, Uber and Yongche.com were fined RMB 100,000.
But as long as the Chinese Ministry of Transport doesn’t say these platforms are illegal, they will continue to figure out countermeasures to cope with local governments. Last week, Didi and Uber gave a comforting notification to their drivers that they can apply for a reimbursement if they are fined, but claimed the notification was not directed against Shanghai’s government sectors.
(Top photo from www.jiaotongwang.cn)