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Short of taxis, China’s major railway stations give Didi the green light to roll in

The ride-hailing service was previously barred from ferrying passengers from train stations during the lunar new year rush.

Photo: provided to KrASIA by Didi's PR

Didi drivers have been given special permission to pick up passengers from 62 railway stations across 51 cities in China including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chongqing, according to a press release by Didi Chuxing.

The ride-hailing company has partnered with these stations to establish dedicated facilities such as specialized driving lanes and parking areas for its vehicles. Dedicated waiting zones for passengers and vehicles have also been settled, Didi announced.

The collaboration gives private ride-hailing drivers the same treatment as taxi drivers, who are free to pick up and drop off passengers inside railway stations, said Didi.

The move can be a blessing for millions of Chinese travelers who are heading home for the traditional family reunion during the Chinese New Year, which starts on January 25, as taxis are always in short demand, particularly in late hours of the day. The Chinese government estimates that Chinese will take up to 3 billion trips during what is considered the largest annual human migration in the world.

However, railway stations in Beijing and Shanghai are not included in the initiative. In Beijing West Railway Station and Beijing Railway Station, Didi’s smaller rival Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur has been enjoying the right to pick up passengers since 2017, but it has not become a mainstream choice due to the platform’s small reach and high prices when compared to traditional taxis.

In Shanghai, Didi doesn’t have an operation license, KrASIA reportedeven though the company has been providing rides in the city for years.