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January 19, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Taxicabs now can be hailed via smartphone

TAXIS can now be hailed electronically in Shanghai.

A smartphone app opened to users yesterday, enabling them to upload their location to dispatchers.

Passengers pay 4 yuan (64 US cents) for each booking, paid with the cab fare.

The application, developed by Shanghai Dazhong Transport Group and three telecom operators, is meant to ease the trouble of waving down taxis and the difficulties of phoning in to book a cab.

"It's also good for drivers," said Yang Guoping, president of Dazhong. "We find that a great many of cabbies are keen on such booking to avoid driving on the roads aimlessly."

Taxis within 500 meters of the passenger get the signal. The first to respond can send their vehicle information to the passenger.

Dazhong's 9,000 cabs are included in the service, as are other operators joining as Dazhong upgrades the dispatch center. By the second half of this year, up to 15,000 local taxis are expected to be on the platform. The city has about 50,000 taxis.

People can access the app through a website,, or via the Android app store. Users of iPhones should have access after the Spring Festival.

The app does appear to need improvements, though.

A passenger, surnamed Ye, tried it yesterday at a hotel in Minhang District. A nearby cabbie had to call Ye to confirm the location as the center sent the wrong address. Still, the taxi arrived within five minutes.

A driver from another firm said he did not receive any booking calls two days after they joined the booking platform. He said he'd heard of only one received by drivers in their 150-taxi fleet.


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