Establish and improve the exit mechanism for online ride-hailing

Recently, the Changsha Municipal Transportation Department announced that it has suspended the acceptance of new business of online ride-hailing transportation permits. Coincidentally, the Sanya Municipal Transportation Department also announced a few days ago that it would suspend the acceptance of online ride-hailing business licenses and transportation license issuance, which attracted attention.

Changsha and Sanya press the "pause button" on ride-hailing at the same time, and it will take time to determine whether there is oversupply or reduced demand behind it. However, as a new format that has only been born for 10 years, online car hailing is facing a new round of balance adjustment of supply and demand, which is a reality that must be recognized at present.

Due to the popularity of the platform economy, as well as the low entry threshold and relatively free time for ride-hailing drivers, the number of ride-hailing platform companies and drivers has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the latest data released by the Ministry of Transport, as of April 4, more than 30.540 million ride-hailing driver licenses and more than 230.4 million ride-hailing licenses have been issued across the country, and both continued to grow month-on-month in April.

The rapid increase of ride-hailing platform companies and ride-hailing has played an important role in facilitating residents' travel and solving social employment. However, if the number of ride-hailing orders cannot grow in tandem, then the market will have an oversupply contradiction. At present, although the saturation of ride-hailing capacity has not yet become a common phenomenon in first-tier cities, in the wider third- and fourth-tier cities, such signals may have already appeared and been captured by relevant departments. Previously, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Wenzhou, Jinan and other places successively issued a saturation warning for ride-hailing, reminding them that the average daily order volume of local ride-hailing bicycles is less than 10, which is a reflection of this contradiction.

With capacity close to saturation, there is still a large influx of "entrants", and ride-hailing operators are bound to become more "involuted" due to fierce competition, which will lead to a series of new problems. From the perspective of drivers and passengers, the increase in labor intensity and the decline in income level of drivers may increase driver and passenger disputes and traffic safety hazards. From the perspective of urban traffic management, the decrease in the number of ride-hailing orders, and more drivers choose to stop and wait on the side of the road, which may also cause a certain degree of traffic congestion.

Pressing the "pause button" in time is undoubtedly the most direct means for regulatory authorities to effectively control the scale of online ride-hailing supply, which is conducive to avoiding market overcrowding and disorderly competition. However, as a result, some people are worried that after the suspension, it has not been opened, and even returned to the old road of regulating the number of cruise taxis, with more emphasis on use permits, penalties, quantity control and other measures, resulting in insufficient supply of taxis and poor service quality in some cities.

Therefore, in the face of the new format of online ride-hailing, the transportation regulatory authorities should innovate the development concept and actively optimize the management mode.

On the one hand, it is necessary to strengthen the dynamic monitoring of information and timely issue risk warnings. It should be noted that the informatization characteristics of the ride-hailing industry are obvious, but the current grasp of the information of the ride-hailing market is not equal. Rental companies, consumers, and drivers can hardly get a comprehensive picture of the information on their own. This requires regulatory authorities to make more efforts in dynamic information monitoring, industry credit system construction, etc., and take the initiative to release relevant information and risk early warnings in a timely manner according to market changes, so that practitioners and investors can fully evaluate and think before entering the industry and make rational choices.

On the other hand, it is necessary to establish an exit mechanism for online ride-hailing as soon as possible. As a transportation regulatory authority, it should reasonably grasp the scale of online ride-hailing capacity and its proportion in the city's comprehensive transportation system based on the characteristics of large, medium, and small cities, the diversified travel needs of the public and the development positioning of online ride-hailing, comprehensively considering factors such as population size, economic development level, urban traffic congestion, and utilization rate of online ride-hailing. At the same time, it is also necessary to understand the operation logic of online car hailing as a new business format, balance the relationship between platform enterprises and drivers, and establish and improve the exit mechanism of online car hailing as soon as possible through the formulation of rules such as service quality evaluation. This can not only adjust the supply of ride-hailing in time according to market changes, avoid excessive market competition, but also meet people's increasingly personalized, diversified and upgraded travel needs, and promote the high-quality development of the ride-hailing industry. (Source: Economic Daily Author: Yang Zhongyang)