GZ Transport Commission comes out with its own knockoff “budget Uber”
Under the pretext of investigating a market economy player Uber, the Guangzhou Transport Commission is producing a cheap imitation of Uber’s service.
After taking Uber to task, Guangzhou’s Transport Commission has decided to launch its own car hire platform, Ruyue.
The proposed service will offer the Ruyue software that Guangzhou residents can use to hire a car. The hired car will arrive at any designated locations in the city center within 5-8 minutes.
Ruyue claims to differ from traditional taxis by using mid-range to luxury class sedans. Drivers are employees who only provide chauffeur service but not liable for any business risks or any additional car usage fees. Guangzhou Transport Commission also pointed out that the Ruyue platform uses approved licensed vehicles in its operations, unlike the “private vehicle” services like Uber.
Although Ruyue is being trumpeted as a “government initiative” and an “official” car hire platform, in reality it’s nothing more than a glorified taxi platform masquerading as a chauffeur service.
At the end of 2014, Guangzhou Transport Commission proposed an additional 2,950 vehicles for hire in a hearing. As widely anticipated, four state-owned Guangzhou taxi companies – Guangzhou Jiaotong, Baiyun, Guangjun and Lixin – won the tenders for all the additional approved cars-for-hire as bidding closed in January this year.
In a trial run that began in February this year, the Ruyue platform sets pricing at three times more than a regular taxi fare and five times more than Uber. Yet the income for drivers in the trial run, who are all former hire car drivers, does not go up by the same rate – drivers will have to complete RMB10,000 fare to pocket the monthly salary of RMB4,900.
It has become apparent that the Guangzhou Transport Commission is seeking to instantly rebrand state-owned taxi companies as chauffeur companies and transform ordinary taxi drivers into high-class chauffeurs with a mere name change. By contrast, bona fide chauffeur services like Uber’s do more than just attach a “chauffer service” tag onto existing services. They integrate service providers with a service model and driver revenue source in line with market economy tenets.
In other words, under the pretext of investigating a market economy player Uber, the Guangzhou Transport Commission is producing a cheap imitation of Uber’s service.
Yet the question remains: will anybody use it?(Translation by David)