A customer checks his smartphone app that eases finding a taxi in October, 2015.
The Governments of Lanzhou in Northwest China's Gansu province and Quanzhou in East China's Fujian province have adjusted their policies on car-hailing services, lowering the threshold requirements for both cars and drivers. Thepaper.cn comments:
The rise of car-hailing services has dealt a heavy blow to the traditional taxi industry that is mostly controlled by local governments.
On the one hand, the number of taxis in cities has remained largely unchanged since the late 1990s. While over the same time the urban population has almost doubled, even increased threefold in some big cities. The shortage of taxis has therefore become increasingly evident, and the problem is especially acute during rush hours.
On the other hand, there are about 200 million private cars, and some of their owners have the time and the motivation to use their vehicles to make money.
In July, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline on strengthening supervision of car-hailing services nationwide. Afterward, some local governments started implementing strict and specific rules for the cars and drivers that could provide such services and set strict standards for the services. These measures have strangled the car-hailing services in many cities in a short time.
The move by Lanzhou and Quanzhou is welcome not only for potential hailing-car drivers but also consumers. Hopefully, other cities can follow their lead and ease their harsh controls on the industry, according to the local conditions.
The government needs to come up with new and effective supervisory mechanisms to ensure the healthy development of industries related to e-services, which are becoming a new and powerful engine for the country's economic growth. Local authorities should demonstrate more foresight and more tolerance of these emerging industries.