In the battle for one of the most populous cities in the world’s largest transport market, Uber Technologies Inc. is finding potential allies in a most unlikely place – among the ranks of licensed Chengdu taxi drivers who have for months been the ride-hailing service’s most implacable foes.
Taxi drivers in the capital of China’s central province of Sichuan say Uber has almost halved their daily take in the nine months since it’s appeared on the scene. They told China Real Time that Uber has swelled the numbers of the green-and-yellow-liveried licensed cabs on the smoggy streets of Chengdu, and drawn licensed drivers to the streets to protest their plight to city officials.
But they also say they’re not above taking up employment with Uber.
“I can’t yet because I’ve signed a four-year contract with my taxi company, and I’ve only been driving for two years,” said Zhang Gang, a 30-year-old driver. “But all drivers are thinking of this.”
Uber isn’t the only object of ambivalence for drivers like Mr. Zhang. They also single out other ride-hailing services like Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache. The drivers’ protests against these apps reflect similar outrage in other Chinese cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai, and even in global capitals like Paris.
Chengdu officials have descended on the local offices of Uber in heightened scrutiny of the company’s operations, and its legality remains unclear. Local Uber and transport officials weren’t immediately available for comment.
Guangzhou raided Uber’s offices earlier this month and has since sought to launch a rival service. Shanghai officials last week said they would launch a ride-hailing service combining local apps.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.