Ride-hailing firm Didi gets 100th penalty ticket

Xu Lingchao
Ride-hailing service racks up 10 million yuan in penalties for allowing illegal cars and drivers to operate as it admits to having no effective solution to the problem.  
Xu Lingchao

Didi Chuxing, the city's largest ride-hailing firm, received its 100th ticket from the traffic authority on Tuesday for allowing unqualified drivers and cars to operate.

The total penalties imposed since July have reached 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million). On Tuesday alone, law enforcement officers busted 23 unqualified ride-hailing cars from Didi.

Drivers who don’t have permanent Shanghai residence and private or rented cars without a certificate to transport passengers are deemed unqualified.

Didi says it has neither a timetable nor an effective solution to weed out illegal cars.

Law enforcement officers said they found new problems while inspecting data provided by Didi.

They found a number of unqualified cars operating in Shanghai were registered in other cities. As a nationwide ride-hailing platform, drivers can register on the platform in almost every city in China. But different cities have different admittance requirements.

Shanghai's police and traffic authority aren't able to access background information on drivers and cars registered elsewhere.

“Many might have registered in other cities with lower requirements on drivers,” said an officer. “In other words, there may be a good number of drivers who would have failed to meet the requirements to become ride-hailing drivers if they tried to register in Shanghai.”

Asked to provide registration information, Didi told officers it could only keep information for a month, so those who registered more than a month ago wouldn't be on its database.

A Didi staff member admitted that some drivers had registered in other cities but said the company had been trying to crack down on the practice.

“We will work out a list of these illegal drivers monthly and handle them to the authority,” the staff said.

Law enforcement officers said they were coordinating with all districts to inspect illegal ride-hailing services.

Previously, the traffic authority could issue two tickets a day to unqualified drivers and cars. Now, apart from the city’s traffic authority, nine districts are allowed to issue one ticket a day as well.

“That is to say, if the penalty of one ticket is 100,000 yuan,” said a law enforcement officer. “The total sum of penalty for illegal drivers will be 1.1 million yuan.”

From July 1 to September 3, the traffic authority has filed 200 cases against eight ride-hailing firms in Shanghai, 101 of which were against Didi and 89 against Meituan Dianping, the second-largest ride-haling platform in Shanghai.

The officers also said they will continue working with the cyberaffairs commission to examine the possibility of removing the ride-hailing app or blocking its Internet access for the platforms that continue to fail to meet the regulations.

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