Ride-hailing firms fail inspection

Companies found to be still operating with illegal cars after an end-of-June deadline imposed when there was an accident in which four people were injured.

Ride-hailing firms Didi Chuxing and Meituan Dianping failed the latest inspection by the city’s transport commission on Tuesday.

After an illegal car from Didi hit and injured four people while the driver was trying to evade a checkpoint on June 13, the city ordered all ride-hailing firms to weed out illegal cars and drivers by the end of June.

But when officers visited Didi, Meituan and Xiangdao Chuxing on Tuesday, Xiangdao was the only company where all its cars and drivers had certificates to operate a ride-hailing service.

Xiangdao, run by the SAIC Group, made its debut in December last year and currently has around 4,000 cars.

“We plan to add another 1,000 by the end of this month,” said Wu Bing, its CEO. “Meanwhile, we are also aiming at other cities in the Yangtze River Delta region.”

Wang Xufeng, from the traffic authority’s law enforcement department, said all three companies had linked their data, including driver information and real-time orders.

“The inspection pulled out orders from our database and cross-checked whether these drivers were legit,” said Wang.

The officers pulled out 13 orders from Didi on Tuesday and found that 11 had no certificates. Of 14 orders picked from Meituan, one had been operated by an illegal car.

Didi said that since June 13 it had cleared out more than 20,000 illegal cars and was planning to weed out another 20,000 as soon as possible. The company said there were roughly 100,000 ride-hailing cars registered but refused to reveal the number which had certificates to provide the service.

Meituan said that by July 1 there were 20,800 cars on the platform that had gained the necessary certificates.

“We have cleared out 34,297 illegal cars since June 13,” said the firm’s Zhang Chi.

According to the statistics provided by Meituan, there were 72,719 cars registered on the platform by June 13, which means there are still at least 17,622 cars either not cleared out or which don’t have certificates.

Law enforcement officers issued rectification notices to Meituan and Didi after their inspection requiring both platforms to weed out the remaining illegal drivers and cars before July 7.

“If we again find illegal cars from the two firms operating a ride-hailing service after July 7,” said the traffic authority’s Li Dong, “the platform will be facing a 100,000-yuan (US$14,536) penalty each day when we bust their illegal cars.”

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