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BMW Has Introduced a Premium Ride-Hailing Service in China

­Last week, BMW launched a premium ride-hailing service as part of their ReachNow carsharing brand. The service uses a fleet of 200 BMW 5 series with specifically trained drivers to provide rides in the city of Chengdu [1].

The trips, if staying at about $3 per kilometre, are pricier than the service provided by China’s leading ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing with similar vehicles for their high-end service in China’s other four major cities.

BMW is entering the market at a time when ride-hailing actors are facing new regulatory demands to increase safety for riders, and this has resulted in a shortage of both vehicles and drivers. To meet this change, service providers are introducing driver training programs and started partnerships towards purpose-built vehicles specifically for on-demand transportation.    

 

Personal comments

It looks like good timing for BMW to launch at a time when established actors are forced to change their practices due to new regulations [2]. Safety concerns have caused stricter control and certification of both drivers and vehicles, and thereby raised the bar for people to be part-time drivers for these ride-hailing services. Introducing driver training programs and customized vehicles are solutions for this, but it is also a step away from the plain model where any driver can use their car and provide rides through a ride-hailing platform. Still, I think this is a continuous trend at a time when people’s travel behaviours have started to change, regulations matured, and it is up to competing providers to offer as attractive solutions as possible, not only on price but also in terms of vehicles, safety aspects and overall user experience.

  

Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.

 

Source

1. 2018-12-17. BMW’s premium ride-hailing service is now live in China

2. 2018-09-11. China begins overhaul of ride-hailing platforms.