Taxi booking apps that allow tips banned in Shanghai

CHINA - Taxi drivers in Shanghai will be banned from picking up passengers through taxi booking apps that allow tips, according to a new regulation issued by the city's transport authority.

The taxi booking service management regulation, recently released by the Shanghai Transport and Port Administration, said the service provided by third-party taxi booking apps should be integrated with those of the taxi companies' dispatch centers, the Shanghai Morning Post reported on Friday.

Smartphone apps that allow users to offer tips to drivers and bargain for rides are becoming increasingly popular in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, where it's difficult to get taxis during rush hours.

The regulation also urges taxi booking app developers to cooperate with taxi companies, but the city's major taxi companies like Qiangsheng and Dazhong have not yet received any requests from the app developers, said the report.

The city has about 50,000 cabs, about 67 per cent of which are in the booking and dispatching system. City call centers handle 57,600 taxi-booking services on average per day, the administration said.

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