(Yicai Global) Sept. 25 -- Two murder-rapes of women riders within three months at the hands of drivers operating under the medallion of Chinese ride-hailing mammoth Didi Chuxing have stirred up a hornet's nest of public outrage throughout the country, and put Did under the official lens. Didi, it turns out, has been driving without a license.
Online car-hailing providers must receive approval from city transit agencies, per national regulations. Didi has thus far only obtained these grants from 40-plus cities, among them Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but not from Shanghai and a further 300. Didi is thus a rogue actor in these places. Beijing, Shanghai and other cities with strict administration of ride-hailing have imposed a rule that ride-share drivers must be locals, as must their cars.
Didi has nonetheless illegally taken on unlicensed personnel and cars and complaints have been common since the national standards issued two years ago.The main reason for Didi's failure to obtain licensing was that some cars and drivers did not qualify under the rules, Ma Fei, deputy director of Shanghai's transport bureau, said in April, adding his office discussed this with Didi several times. Didi has also shrugged off penalties levied against it for using illegal cars and drivers. It has been fined more than CNY100,000 (USD14,580) eight times since 2015, and its personnel have cooperated and timely paid the fines, but then done nothing to fix the problem, Ma said. The burgeoning ranks of drivers and cars illegally operating render administration problematic, however. Fewer than 10,000 of the 410,000 Didi drivers in Shanghai comply with the local household registration requirement, which means Didi has been effectively thumbing its nose at officialdom there since day one.