Where have all the good things gone? The rapid growth of ride-sharing services such Didi Chuxing, and Uber China offered hope to Beijingers beholden to the state monopoly on official taxis. New regulations, announced last year and put into effect in December, as well as the consolidation of rivals Didi Chuxing and Uber, have imperiled this brief golden age of automotive convenience and threaten to force us back into the vaguely hostile and geographically-challenged embrace of the official taxi fleet.
The regulations, released in December after being announced earlier in 2016, order ride-hailing services in Beijing to use only drivers with a Beijing residence permit, or hukou. Drivers found in violation face a fine of up to 20,000 RMB and seizure of their vehicles.
Beijing’s official taxi drivers have long been required to be Beijing residents, while many of the drivers employed by Didi and other companies hail from surrounding provinces.