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China Daily Global / 2021-01 / 12 / Page011

Ride-hailing drivers must keep their guard up

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-01-12 00:00

The transport authorities have fined car-hailing app Didi Chuxing 1.07 million yuan ($165,037) for 96 instances in which it failed to comply with the epidemic control and prevention measures. Its affiliate Huaxiaozhu Dache has been fined 340,000 yuan for 12 such instances.

Announcing this at a news conference on Sunday, the authorities even highlighted some of the cases. For example, on Jan 6, a driver failed to wear a protective mask. The passenger complained to the platform but did not get a timely response. After similar cases were reported on Saturday, Didi Chuxing was fined.

Car-hailing apps have definitely made life convenient for many. If you have a driving license and a car that meets the required standards, you can register as a part-time driver and make an additional income while passengers can get a convenient ride and the platform make profit.

However, being an enclosed space shared by the driver and passenger (s), the interior of a car is also a place where the virus can spread. The situation is made worse as it is winter and passengers like to keep the windows closed.

The authorities have long asked Didi Chuxing and Huaxiaozhu Dache to regulate their drivers and passengers. The regulations specify the wearing of protective masks, sanitizing the interiors of the cars and keeping windows open to maintain air flow. However, it is clear that some drivers are not obeying the rules. It seems that many drivers have become complacent because China has long managed to keep the epidemic under control.

However, the novel coronavirus' potential to cause harm should never be underestimated. The total number of infections in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei province, has reached 283 and might continue to rise. If people let their guard down now it could lead to the pandemic endangering people's lives all over again.

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