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September 25, 2013

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Taxi booking service to be regulated

Shanghai will work out regulations for taxi booking service by the end of the year and incorporate 85 percent of the city’s taxis into the booking system.

The city’s traffic authorities hope a regulated telephone and software booking, as well as taxi hailing spots, will provide more choices and convenience for citizens looking for a ride.

Shanghai currently has 32,600 taxis registered with the telephone booking service — accounting for 67 percent of the total, according to Shanghai Transport and Port Administration.

That figure is expected to reach 85 percent when it includes 41,700 taxis in all. The authorities hope the booking service will cover all taxis in the city in the near future, except for those belonging to regional or private companies.

In recent months, mobile taxi booking applications have been popular among smartphone users, posing a challenge to traditional taxi booking service. However, there has been a rise in disputes like extra charge or poor service due to lack of regulations against the third-party app companies.

Traffic authorities have been trying to encourage the city’s taxi companies to cooperate with the app owners in making technical standards, improving the booking systems and regulating its development.

Shanghai’s major taxi companies like Qiangsheng, Dazhong, Jinjiang and Haibo developed similar booking applications for smartphone users. However, due to technical flaws and lukewarm receptions from their drivers, it manages only 3 percent of all bookings.

On average, there are only 1,800 rides completed daily through smartphone applications developed by the four major taxi companies.



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