Ride-hailing firms face Internet blackout
Ride-hailing firms that still allow unqualified drivers and cars to operate may lose Internet access or have their apps removed, according to the Shanghai Transportation Commission’s law enforcement department.
Unqualified drivers and cars refer to drivers who don’t have permanent Shanghai residency and private or rented cars without a Shanghai certificate to transport passengers.
When law enforcement officers visited Didi Chuxing, Meituan Dianping, Xiangdao Chuxing and Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur on Monday and Tuesday, they found Didi and Meituan still had a fairly large number of unqualified drivers and cars providing ride-hailing services.
Didi was fined 200,000 yuan (US$28,300) and Meituan 30,000 yuan.
Since July, the two firms have received 114 tickets from the city’s traffic authority. Altogether, Didi was fined 5.5 million yuan and Meituan 1.47 million yuan in July.
However, the fines seem have done little to persuade these firms to regulate their drivers and cars. Over the past three days, more than 80 percent of unqualified ride-hailing cars detected by the traffic authority’s online supervisory platform came from Didi and another 15 percent from Meituan.
Both Didi and Meituan say they will keep working with the authorities to weed out unqualified cars, but neither could give an exact number of how many unqualified cars and drivers there are, and neither had a timetable for eliminating them.
Penalties may be increased if the situation carries on, law enforcement officers said. According to the Shanghai Communications Administration, the apps that allow illegal ride-hailing cars to operate may face a temporary shutdown.
“The apps will be removed from the app stores, or they will lose Internet access, up to six months,” said an administration official.