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February 14, 2014

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City keen to change taxi hailing method

Shanghai traffic authority wants taxi passengers to use the dispatch booking systems or apps or wait for taxis at designated spots instead of hailing them on the roads.

It says that the traditional method of hailing taxis on the streets has safety risks as drivers tend to brake suddenly or switch lanes sharply.

Keen to change the habit, the city will build more taxi-waiting spots near commercial centers, large residential areas and other public places this year to help citizens have easier access to taxis.

Commuters will be encouraged to use phone dispatches, take cabs from fixed spots and use third-party apps in the future.

“We will build more taxi-waiting spots around the city and help commuters build new habits, while the traditional method of waving from roadsides will be discouraged,” said Huang Xiaoyong, spokesman of Shanghai Transport and Port Administration.

Shanghai has 49,000 taxis that served an average of 2.9 million passengers every day last year.

Official statistics show that 35 percent of the mileage was empty.

Huang said guiding commuters into picking up a new habit to get taxis will help decrease the number of empty taxis driving around city roads looking for business, which will help in cutting down emissions and saving gas.

There should be less frustrations for those looking for taxis on the street after the taxi booking apps said they will coordinate with taxi companies to share dispatch information.

Taxi booking software companies Kuaidi Taxi and Didi Taxi, which have the largest share of business in the city, agreed to update information to the dispatch system of local taxi companies.

Once a taxi accepts business generated by the software, the light on top of a taxi will change to “dispatched” in red instead of “available,” which is in green.

Previously, the “available” sign on taxis did not change when drivers attended app callers, leaving those hailing taxis on the roads confused and angry.

The Shanghai Transport and Port Administration said there are technical adjustments to be made in the dispatching system of taxi companies before they could receive timely information from third-party software companies.

The taxi companies will also supervise the manners of drivers.



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