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March 8, 2014

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Taxi booking app continues to use private vehicles

A LOCAL taxi booking app is still using private cars for its services despite being warned by the traffic authorities that it is illegal.

A Shanghai traffic law enforcement team on Monday held talks with the managing company of Dahuangfeng, a third-party taxi booking and car rental service application, and told them to make necessary adjustments and corrections.

However, the company is still sending out private vehicles for its clients. Authorities said they would not take any further action now because it is within the “self-rectification” period. It is not known how long the period is.

Under regulations unveiled this month for managing taxi booking apps, vehicles providing customized rental services cannot use third party apps.

“We have not been formally notified of the new regulations by the authorities,” Deng Wei, director of the company’s public relations department, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

“We came to know about the regulations and our “violations” through the media. We are currently communicating with related governmental departments,” Deng said.

“The rental service targets a small group of high-end customers and the fare is higher than a normal taxi ride. There is a market for it and I can’t see how we are disturbing Shanghai’s taxi and car rental service market,” Deng said.

Dahuangfeng said it buys insurance for drivers they cooperate with. They deal with their partner car rental service companies in case of accidents or complaints.

Shanghai has 39 registered car rental companies. But the Shanghai Transport and Port Administration said none of the 39 companies were cooperating with Dahuangfeng.

Illegal car rental service operators face a fine up to 50,000 yuan (US$8,220). Their vehicles can be impounded and illegal income seized.

“Currently, we can only rely on tipoffs from the public and media to crack down on illegal rental businesses,” said Chen Zhaohui, a spokesman of the traffic law enforcement team.

Some owners of private vehicles who are registered with Dahuangfeng said they had to sign contracts with the car rental service companies first. Only then will they be added into Dahuangfeng’s operational list and accept fares from the platform.

Dahuangfeng started to offer short-term car rental service in Shanghai after merging with Hangzhou Kuaidi Taxi Co in November last year.



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