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Experts call for amendments to car-hailing regulation

A dozen experts strongly disapprove of China's draft regulation on online car-hailing services, claiming that the rules may dampen the emerging industry, according to their proposal to the State Council on Thursday.

The experts believed that the draft regulation has serious flaws and should be rewritten, news site caijing.com reported on Thursday.

The regulation should be different from that which regulates the traditional taxi industry, otherwise it will definitely deal a heavy blow to the emerging industry, Fu Weigang, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law, also one of the experts who disapproved of the draft rules, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The draft regulation was released by the Ministry of Transportation on October 10, including a ban on the use of private cars, and a requirement for drivers to have a labor contract with an online taxi-hailing platform. The draft regulation is open for public scrutiny for one month.

The regulation states that all private cars must be registered as a "taxi" before being used in online car-hailing services, which means the registered cars have to be abandoned after eight years of service.

"Unlike traditional taxi companies, online car-hailing platforms are not employers of drivers, but an intermediary between drivers and passengers. Rules requiring the drivers to have a labor contract with the online platforms will force drivers of private vehicles to leave the business, which will harm the interests of both passengers and drivers," Fu told the Global Times.

Besides, the regulation underestimates the online car-hailing platforms' ability to review the drivers' credibility and guarantee passenger safety, Fu said.

The draft regulation on car-hailing services requires online taxi-hailing operators to obtain a license from transport authorities.

"Since passengers can easily get information on taxi drivers and can access feedback on the drivers' service record, it is unnecessary to set such rigid requirements on drivers," Fu said.

Fu, along with other experts, offered some suggestions, including creating an accountability system for the online platforms and requiring insurance coverage to guarantee the safety of both passengers and drivers.

China's online taxi-hailing company Didi Kuaidi and Uber China said they would responsibly contribute to the formulation of the regulation, after the draft was released.


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