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Online carpooling service well received
(Shenzhen Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-10 09:16

A web site has been set up to provide information about carpooling, with authorities worrying that it could be a bridge for illegal taxi services.

The site, www.chexing.net, has six city branches including Shenzhen.

The Southern Metropolitan News said as many as 90 messages were posted each day about carpooling information in Shenzhen. A person in charge of the Web site said posting messages was free of charge, but did not rule out the possibility of charging fees in the future, the newspaper reported.

The number of car owners providing carpooling was about three times that of commuters asking for the service, the newspaper said.

There were also advertisement-like messages posted on the Web site, offering charter and rental car services.

Some drivers said carrying others to and from work could help cut down the cost of car maintenance and help make new friends. The drivers usually charge five to 15 yuan (US$0.6-1.8) per person for a one-way ride.

A man surnamed Zheng said he welcomed others to ride in his car because the practice could reduce the number of cars on the road, save energy and time, and relieve commuters from crowded and sometimes unreliable public transport.

A man surnamed Tao said too many people living in the same community did not know each other and carpooling was one way to help boost neighborhood cooperation and mutual help.

However, some citizens said without paying taxes, fee-charging carpooling could be considered an illegal transport service and, by making detours to pick up or unload passengers, could make traffic worse.

An official from the municipal communications bureau said carpooling was not legitimate if fees were charged and could provide excuses for unlicensed transporters. Some insurance companies said the drivers and passengers participating in a fee-charging carpool, which was deemed illegal, might not be considered eligible for compensation if they were involved in an accident.

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