August 13, 2019 / 3:54 PM / 11 days ago

Shanghai fines Didi, Meituan for using unlicensed vehicles

FILE PHOTO: The company logo of ride hailing company Didi Chuxing is seen on a car door at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing, China October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Shanghai authorities have fined ride-hailing service providers Didi Chuxing and Meituan Dianping for using unlicensed vehicles and warned their smartphone applications could be suspended if they continue to fail to meet standards.

The fines are the latest in a crackdown on illegal practices in China’s fast-growing ride-hailing industry.

Shanghai’s transportation and communications authorities have fined Didi 200,000 yuan ($28,400) for providing services with unlicensed vehicles, the Shanghai transportation commission said on its WeChat social media account on Tuesday.

The commission added Didi had already been fined 5.5 million yuan in the last assessment of the industry in July.

It said the authorities had also fined Meituan Dianping 30,000 yuan, following a 1.47 million yuan penalty last month.

Local government data showed around 80% of unlicensed vehicles spotted by the latest assessment were hired by Didi and more than 15% were hired by Meituan Dianping in the past three days, the commission said.

It warned regulators could suspend ride-hailing services’ smartphone applications if they fail to meet requirements published by the government in 2018.

Didi said it is actively communicating with authorities and will continue to promote the compliance of ride-hailing service’s vehicles. Meituan Dianping declined to comment.

China toughened rules on ride-hailing services last year after a number of high-profile incidents, including the killing of two passengers, that stoked public anger. It ordered companies to suspend drivers without proper operating licenses and stop new registrations for unqualified drivers. Since then, Didi has been working on improving safety measures.

Reporting by Yilei Sun, Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Editing by Mark Potter and Rashmi Aich

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