Business / Gadgets

Taxi fare vs taxi fair

By Gan Tian (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-05 09:55

Taxi fare vs taxi fair

Song Chen/China Daily

The popularity of mobile apps has made grabbing a cab much easier for the young and tech-savvy, while others say they are stuck out in the cold without rides. Gan Tian studies the debate.

Taxi-booking apps are bringing back an old issue to China's netizens: Is high-tech benefiting or harming the society?

In 2012, many urban dwellers complained they frequently could not get a taxi in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Beijing-based office worker Yu Na frequently worked as late as 10 pm, and every time she tried to head home, she was rejected by taxi drivers. The reason: she lives in Tongzhou district, an area taxi drivers say is too far.

When businesswoman Qian Weiwei left Beijing Capital Airport and told the taxi driver she was heading for the Wangjing area, she was asked to get out. The reason? The distance to Wangjing from the airport was too close, and the driver could not make money.

Now that the information age boom has made smartphones popular, high-tech companies have developed apps to book a taxi.

The first app, Yaoyao Taxi, for example, connects a passenger to taxi drivers. The passenger sends his location, destination, and sometimes even a "tip", and if a driver thinks it is a good fare, he or she clicks a button and goes to pick up the passenger.

Wang Weijian, founder of Yaoyao Taxi, says: "We hope the app breaks the barrier between the passengers and the drivers, and links them. It helps people to get a taxi quickly and comfortably."

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