Didi Stops Advising Riders To Add Tips To Alleviate The Difficulty Of Hailing A Car During Spring Festival | TMTpost

To ease problems caused by the short of supply and the rising price and improve user experience during the Chinese Spring Festival, Didi Chuxing recently announced that it would periodically stop suggesting customers paying tips on the taxi hailing interface. How come?


Editor’s Note:

Near Spring Festival, while people are busy collecting Red Envelopes, showing off year-end bonus in their WeChat friends circle, which is flooded with all kinds of e-commerce campaigns, Didi, however, hits the headline since people are complaining about the increasing difficulty to hail cars via Didi. In response, Didi issued an official letter official Sina Weibo on Monday, saying that:

As from today, Didi Chuxing will periodically stop suggesting customers paying tips on the taxi hailing interface to try to ease problems caused by the short of supply and the rising price and improve user experience during the “Chunyun,” which is the annual 40-day travel period surrounding the Chinese Spring Festival.

In the next few days, Didi shall manage to:

Improve user satisfaction by technological innovation and finding a more efficient order distribution mechanism; adjust to government’s reform policy on taxi and improve taxi drivers’ work efficiency as well as salary through a more efficient system.

Didi also admitted that “some users might find that it will take longer time to hail a car” and asked for forgiveness. In addition, Didi will “continue to allow users to pay tips if necessary, being aware of the welfare of drivers who continued to work during the Spring Festival”. However, Didi reserved the right to further adjust the mechanism based on both users and drivers’ feedback.

As a matter of fact, it has always been a headache to hail cars during the Spring Festival. Since a large number of Didi drivers would left major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and go back to their hometown, Didi drivers will be in short supply, so it’s natural that it’s more difficult to hail a car during this period.
Luo Wen, Senior Product Director of Didi Chuxing, illustrated the reason in two graphs, which shows that while the number orders in Beijing have increased by 30 per cent year-on-year, the number of Didi drivers who continued to work has dropped by 25 per cent.

Some people doubt that Didi prefers to dispatch orders to Kuaiche and Zhuanche drivers instead of taxi drivers, Luo also gave his explanations as to such doubt:

1. Not all taxi drivers have signed up on Didi, and not all taxi drivers who’ve signed up on Didi would stay online and pick up orders via Didi. For taxi drivers, they pick up orders on streets and online ride-hailing platform is only supplementary. This is why we specially design the “Grab an order” function for taxi drivers. As to Zhuanche and Kuaiche drivers, we would directly assign orders to them. During the Spring Festival, it’a natural that taxi drivers are in short supply. Some Didi users may not be able to hail a taxi via Didi even when there are taxis nearby, since they just might not be willing to pick up orders online.

2. In rush hour, taxi drivers might be informed of several orders they could pick up, so it would take time to broadcast all the available orders. In the process, some taxi might just be hailed on the street by other passengers who don’t use online ride-hailing platform.

3. Whether for Didi’s taxi or Kuaiche drivers, if they do some setup and only pick up orders on their way home, we can’t assign orders not on their way home to them.

4. There’s a lapse between the time passengers place an order and the time we broadcast the order to Didi drivers. Although it might only take a couple seconds, drivers might already drive away from passengers. In fact, we’ve already noticed this problem and has already been conducting necessary adjustment.

5. In cities where even-odd license plate plan is adopted, we can’t assign orders to Didi cars with the wrong license plate if passengers want to go downtown.

6. Some Didi users might find that they can’t hail a car even when it is just nearby. This might have to do with our anti-cheating mechanism.

However, Didi’s users didn’t buy his words. For a while, some people attribute the problem to Didi’s order distribution mechanism, believing that it is Didi’s inappropriate order distribution mechanism that causes drivers to pick up orders only when Didi users add tips.

Since Didi encourages users to give tips in rush hour, taxi drivers would prefer to pick up orders online instead of on the streets. Moreover, they would wait and pick up orders with more tips, so that some users have to add tips several times and then pick a car.

Moreover, some people attribute the problem “rising difficulty as well as price to hail a car” to some Municipal government’s tightened control on online ride-hailing platform.

Although there’s a grey area, lots of drivers have already given up on the online ride-hailing platform due to the tightened control. Therefore, the number of drivers who remain has dropped significantly after the government policy takes effect.

Some Chinese internet users even list “local license plate”, “local hukou” as well as “entry examination” and all kinds of restrictions laid out by local governments as the three “mountains” for drivers for online ride-hailing platform, believing that such high entry standards are pushing the Chinese back to the era of taxi.

Since online ride-hailing platforms face so much restriction, they can’t provide users with good service as before. This is also why it is especially difficult to hail a car during this Spring Festival.

However, few Chinese internet users attribute the problem to Didi’s monopoly in the Chinese online ride-hailing market. After all, this is a minor problem compared to the three “mountains”.Standing in smog and freezing wind, failing to hail a car even after waiting for half an hour, how many Chinese users will miss the time when Didi and Kuaidi were still competing to give subsidies to drivers as well as riders?

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost-Chinese, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.

(Chinese Version)


Originally published at www.tmtpost.com on January 25, 2017.