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January 21, 2014

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Authorities rule out banning taxi booking apps

Shanghai’s traffic authorities said they intend to improve the taxi dispatching system and won’t ban third-party booking apps in order to meet the huge demand.

Smartphone users are booking taxis after downloading apps, posing a challenge to the traditional taxi booking service. Sun Jianping, head of Shanghai Transport and Port Administration, said authorities will not ban the use of mobile apps as they have their advantage compared to the traditional dispatch system.

“This is a choice by the market. We will not ban the use of these third-party apps. Instead, we will try encourage cooperation between taxi companies and app developers.”

The apps have functions like “give a tip” and passengers are willing to pay extra money, especially during peak hours. “Again, we don’t encourage the extra charges. But again, it’s a choice of the market. What we can do is to improve the current dispatch system and better distribute the resources,” Sun said.

The city has 49,000 taxis, which falls short especially during rush hours. Sun said there are still about 8,000 taxis which are not included in the dispatch system.


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