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April 10, 2014

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Taxi app firms think of new incentives

EVEN as the third party taxi booking app firms think up of new incentives to retain their hold on the market, drivers and passengers say they would use the apps — with or without the subsidies.

“The subsidies will probably come to an end in the near future, but we have other inducements lined up like bonus points, coupons, etc,” Li Min, deputy marketing director of Kuaidi Taxi, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Kuaidi currently gives a 11-yuan subsidy to drivers for their first 15 fares of the day. Passengers save 3 yuan for each of their first two orders.

Kuaidi, nor its rival Didi Taxi, would say when the subsidies would be discontinued. But taxi drivers and passengers, who use the apps, said they would continue to use their services regardless of the deals on offer.

“The apps have raised my work efficiency and I will use them even when they stop the subsidies,” said Zhang Jian, a cabbie with Shanghai Haibo Taxi Co.

Zhang takes around 15 fares from both Kuaidi and Didi Taxi apps everyday, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of his daily workload. He said he and other drivers were always aware that the incentives wouldn’t last long.

“I was using the apps even before they started offering subsidies,” said He Yinghua, who uses the service to go to the nearest Metro station daily.

“Compared to hailing taxis from the street, the chances of getting a taxi from the aps are much higher. It doesn’t matter to me if I get a subsidy or not.”

Meanwhile, Kuaidi said it will keep optimizing the application, but it had no plans yet to develop a function to block business for drivers who already have passengers in the vehicles. The city’s traffic authority last month urged the software companies to improve the apps and stop sending business information to drivers who already have passengers in their vehicles, citing safety concerns.

“Safety should be the responsibility of drivers,” said Li Min. “It is not that the drivers did not use mobile phones before the apps hit the market.”

Li claimed that only a small number of drivers took new orders before completing the existing one. Drivers who take a second fare before finishing the first run the risk of not being able to reach the second passenger within an agreed time. This results in deduction of credit.


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