Guangzhou faces traffic disruptions as more Chinese taxi drivers protest car-hailing apps
Hundreds of taxi drivers staged a "go-slow" protest in downtown Guangzhou, the capital of southern Guangdong province, on Thursday as frustrations continue to grow over cabbies’ poor pay and the ramped-up competition from car-hailing apps like Uber and Chinese market leader Didi Kuaidi.
A number of internet users issued complaints online that taxi drivers in the city were refusing to accept passengers and were deliberately causing tailbacks on key roads from early in the morning.
Photos posted online showed that some of the cabs bore slogans like “Combating illegal taxi services”.
The demonstration comes as taxi and car-hailing apps have been subject to protests across China and in various other countries this year.
On the Chinese mainland, a number of drivers using smartphone apps like Uber have been attacked or blackmailed in recent months, according to reports.
Licensed taxi drivers complain that the apps have fundamentally changed the market and that the situation is worsening.
“Cabbies who work nights have already seen their monthly income drop by one-third,” said Shenzhen taxi driver Wang Hongju.
“I used to earn 8,000 yuan [US$1,290] a month," he said. "Now I get about 5,000 yuan.”
He said that many of his colleagues are considering quitting the industry if the authorities do not impose measures to curb the use of the car-hailing apps.
In April, a group of over 30 taxi drivers in Beijing drank pesticide to protest the way in which taxi companies renewed the leases of their vehicles.