Shanghai Dazhong Taxi Company said that by the end of May, passengers will be able to access WiFi in all of its 9,000 cabs. The service has been available in some cabs since last July, but come summertime, WiFi and Alipay services will cover all taxis with the company, according to Shanghai Daily.
The move seems to be a response to increased competition from car-rental apps, which tend to offer lower fares and better services including WiFi and phone-charging stations. Licensed cabbies aren’t able to lower prices because they have to pay hundreds of thousands of yuan in rent to taxi companies each month, but providing WiFi and more payment options for customers could give Dazhong cabs an edge over the others. (The cab drivers could also stop refusing service to customers because the route isn’t in the direction of their desired dinner location.)
Various cities announced a ban on rental cars providing taxi services after cabbies nationwide began holding strikes.