By Yuzhou Hu
The rise of ride-sharing apps like Didi and Meituan seem to have ‘stolen the show’ when it comes to the convenience of getting ourselves around the city. Nonetheless, cab drivers still have a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Now, when you hail a taxi in Shanghai, chances are the cab pulling up has a built-in mini convenience store, as reported by Shine.
Unlike regular taxis, these ‘special’ cabs have pockets hanging off the back of the front seat, with a range of snacks and beverages available to purchase. To make the process simple, orders are bought via WeChat. Also, to attract more customers, the first purchase will cost RMB0.01.
“This new offer commenced in March.” Yao, one of the taxi drivers, told jfdaily. “Every product I sell grants me a profit of 15 percent. Now, I can earn several hundred more per month, which is satisfactory to my family and me.”
In general, passengers are welcoming this new function. After all, it can save people the hassle of going to traditional convenience stores, especially with the recent hot weather we have experienced. Besides, the promotion is too tempting to resist, “Nowadays, nobody would even bother to pick up a coin of RMB0.01. Here they can get a pack of chips or a bottle of water.” comments another driver.
Despite the support and understanding, doubts emerge towards this transformation of taxis to convenience stores, most of which center upon food safety and hygiene. “If anything goes wrong, it would be hard to assign responsibility.” Zhou Ming, a lawyer, told the Paper.
It turns out that thinking of ways to enhance the standard service of taxis is a result of the decline in the taxi industry. Last year, the daily average number of passengers dropped from 2.36 million to 2.08 million, down 12 percent, as is reported by the Paper.
For now, there are approximately 200 taxis in Shanghai trialing the new service. Since there are no relevant regulations towards the practice, the Shanghai Transportation Commission suggests, “It is legitimate so long as it does not affect passenger safety.”
So, for now, check the expiry dates on what’s available, and be grateful if a bottle of water is available next time you hail a taxi.
[Images via Shine and the Paper]
This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).