New taxi app rewards programme lets riders potentially travel for free

If riders pay for their taxi with Alipay, they will be awarded ten yuan (HK$ 13) per ride

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 8:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 8:25pm

Thanks to a rewards programme started by Kuaidi Dache, a popular Chinese book-a-taxi mobile app, customers can now technically ride taxis for free over short distances.

The programme, which begins on January 22, is the result of a promotion between Alipay, the electronic payment system designed by Chinese e-commence giant Alibaba, and Kuaidi Dache, a mobile app run by Kuaizhi Technology, a company based in Hangzhou.

It awards passengers who book a taxi with Kuaidi Dache and pay through Alipay a cash reward of ten yuan (HK$ 13) per ride.

Drivers who accept the transaction will receive ten yuan as well, plus an additional five yuan for using the Kuaidi Dache mobile app service – bringing their total return profit to 15 yuan (HK$19) per ride.

Under this system, customers travelling short distances can technically ride for free.

Passengers are allowed to receive two cash rewards per day, while taxi drivers can receive up to five rewards.

According to reports from Beijing Youth Daily, all rewards will be deposited into the owners’ respective accounts within three to five working days.

“The taxi incentive programme covers 40 cities and an estimated 40 million drivers will begin accepting transactions [through Alipay],” an Alibaba spokesman said in interviews with Henan news portal

This is not the first incentive programme between Alibaba and Kuaidi Dache, but it is the first to offer increasingly large monetary rebates.

In early 2013, Alipay instituted a similar system that offered users five yuan (HK$ 6) for every taxi they booked through Kuaidi Dache.

Currently, an estimated 70 per cent of taxi drivers in the Hangzhou area accept transactions through Kuaidi Dache, although the app is also popular in other cities - particularly Shanghai, where notoriously heavy traffic conditions can make hailing taxis by normal means difficult.

Kuaidi Dache’s largest competitor is Didi Dache, an app run by Beijing-based Xiaoju Technology.

Didi Dache, which is partnered with WeChat, also has a similar rewards programme for its users that grants both taxi drivers and riders a ten yuan rebate per ride if they use the app.