Business / Opinion

Cab-calling apps here to stay

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-27 08:49

With the number of people hiring taxis through mobile phone applications growing, the cab-calling service has revealed many problems. For example, many people say that traffic accidents have increased because cabbies are being distracted by taxi-calling apps, but that's not the apps' fault, says an article on Excerpts:

Taxi drivers and passengers both have benefited from the competition between smartphone apps, Didi by Tencent and KuaiDi by Alibaba, which is an apt example of free competition. But for such a competition to be devoid of bad consequences, watchdogs have to exercise stricter market supervision.

Many people blame some of the accidents on taxi drivers' distraction while using the taxi-calling apps. But similar public views were heard when vehicle radio stations were introduced years ago. Multi-tasking increases potential safety hazards, but the problem does not lie with the apps but the people who use them. Therefore, it is groundless to blame taxi-calling apps for the accidents.

To solve the problem, taxi companies should set rules for cabbies for the use of apps on duty and carry out follow-up supervision. Also, current traffic rules forbid drivers to use mobile phones while driving. So road monitoring should be used to identify people who use mobile apps while driving so that they can be punished for violating traffic rules.

Traffic authorities in many cities have vowed to issue measures to regulate the use of taxi-calling apps, which is a good thing because the trend of using such apps cannot be reversed. Every new application has its teething problems, and cab-calling apps are no exception. So, instead of restricting their use, it would be wiser to figure out how to make their use orderly and promote free competition.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 02/27/2014 page9)

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