Official: 'Hitch' services stray from mission

Updated 2018-05-16 17:30:05 China Daily

So-called "hitch" ride services that come with too much social interaction are straying from their original goal of providing transportation, and even pose a major safety hazard for the public, a Ministry of Transport official said.

Cai Tuanjie, vice-head of the transport services department of the ministry, called for regulation of such services through mechanisms that would include government, enterprises, passengers and drivers. Cai made the comments on China Central TV on Tuesday.

On May 5, a flight attendant was killed by her "hitch" service driver. The suspected killer committed suicide afterward by jumping off a bridge.

Pickups are arranged via mobile app, allowing a passenger to connect with a private car heading in the same direction. It is offered by Didi Chuxing, an online car-hailing service.

The platform's social interaction functions have been criticized as a safety hazard.

Drivers and passengers can post comments about each other, such as whether a driver or passenger was good. However, comments have often featured vulgar descriptions of females.

Drivers can see a passenger's information before accepting an order, and vice versa.

Unlike an ordinary car-hailing service, the hitch service - sometimes called a carpool or shared transport model - has drivers release routing information, and passengers desiring to travel the same route can connect. "Drivers and passengers share the cost, or drivers provide free assistance," said Cai.

He said that legal carpooling services should meet two core conditions. One is the trip is designed to fulfill the driver's needs; the other is sharing the cost.

Government departments should increase inspections of carpool services and urge enterprises to launch businesses in accordance with the law. It should also investigate and punish illegal operations, such as using the hitch service to operate a business, he said.

Cai urged municipal governments that have not issued detailed guidelines on regulating hitch services to do so soon.

Zhu Wei, deputy director of the Communication Law Research Center at China University of Political Science and Law, said the driver providing a hitch service is not a company employee.

"Carpool services are part of the shared economy. It is hard for government to strictly oversee it," Zhu said, suggesting that any management should be modest.

He agreed, however, that social interaction functions should be limited.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58October 21 2018 00:04:48

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16October 21 2018 00:04:48

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18October 21 2018 00:04:48

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords