Your ‘car’ awaits ... Chinese ride-hailing customer picked up in a truck

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 1:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 1:16pm

Car-hailing and bike-sharing services are hugely popular in China, but now even trucks are trying to get in on the act, albeit without proper authorisation.

A man in southwest China wanted to take a ride earlier this week through a local car-sharing platform to go from Wushan county to Chongqing – a five to six hour drive – but was surprised when a large truck arrived to pick him up, Chinese media reported.

The driver had told him before arriving that the vehicle was “very wide” and that he could “even go to sleep” during the trip. But after the man boarded the truck, he recalled being “so scared that I didn’t dare sleep at all”, according to the Chongqing Evening News.

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He detailed his experience on his social media account in a post on Tuesday morning that quickly went viral on the internet in China.

The man, who lives in Wushan county and works in insurance, told reporters he had needed to travel to Chongqing for business.

He contacted a local ride-sharing platform, which he did not name, to see if he could get a lift to Chongqing and agreed to pay “petrol fees”.

He said he was caught off guard by the choice of vehicle, but decided it was too late to find another mode of transport.

During the ride, he tried to lie down in the fairly large space at the back of the truck, which he compared to the sleeping quarters on a train, but was unable to fall asleep. At one point, the driver told him: “Don’t be scared, young man, [I’m a] long-time driver!”

He arrived safely at his destination, but said he would not use car-sharing services in the future “for safety reasons”.

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The truck driver told the Chongqing Evening News that he was not trying to make money by offering the ride and had simply agreed to help the passenger out, who was referred to him by a friend.

But the unnamed ride-sharing platform – which does not provide legal guarantees for its services – admitted fault in the incident.

“We were also quite surprised as this has never happened before,” an unnamed staff member was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“We were wrong in this case as we did not take the relevant precautions ... we will work to put in relevant changes as soon as possible.”

Internet users reacted to the unusual form of car-sharing with amusement.

“Why can’t I get a big truck to pick me up! Envy, jealousy, hatred!” one person joked.

Another said: “This guy can brag about this incident for the rest of his life.”