Online car services blamed for traffic jams

2015-10-18

A senior official of China's Ministry of Transport on Thursday partly blamed heavy traffic congestion on online car services, which may be a reason to regulate the online taxi industry, experts said.

Liu Xiaoming, head of the transport department at the ministry, said at a seminar that Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province, as well as Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province have witnessed increasing congestion during the second quarter, despite car purchase limits, The Beijing News reported on Friday.

Traffic jams have been linked to Zhuanche, a car-for-hire service which targets the middle and higher end of the taxi market, thus causing more people to take cars, according to Liu.

"The more traffic jams, the more we need to depend on public transport services," Zhang Zhuting, a professor at the Transport Management Institute of the Ministry of Transport, told the Global Times on Friday.

Severe congestion is one reason why the government has introduced regulation of online car services, Xu Kangming, a transportation expert and municipal government advisor, told the Global Times on Friday.

The Ministry of Transport on October 10 released a draft regulation on car services that requires online taxi-hailing operators to obtain licenses from the transport authorities.

The heaviest blow to the online taxi industry is that all private cars must be registered as "taxis" and can have a lifespan of only eight years, Xue Zhaofeng, a professor of the National School of Development at Peking University, said at the seminar.

"However, the safety of passengers should be prioritized when drafting the regulation," Zhang said.