How can the taxi industry survive the tide of ridesourcing? Evidence from Shenzhen, China

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216 Scopus citations


This paper aims to examine the impact of ridesourcing on the taxi industry and explore where, when and how taxis can compete more effectively. To this end a large taxi GPS trajectory data set collected in Shenzhen, China is mined and more than 2,700 taxis (or about 18% of all registered in the city) are tracked in a period of three years, from January 2013 to November 2015, when both e-hailing and ridesourcing were rapidly spreading in the city. The long sequence of GPS data points is first broken into separate “trips”, each corresponding to a unique passenger state, an origin/destination zone, and a starting/ending time. By examining the trip statistics, we found that: (1) the taxi industry in Shenzhen has experienced a significant loss in its ridership that can be indisputably credited to the competition from ridesourcing. Yet, the evidence is also strong that the shock was relatively short and that the loss of the taxi industry had begun to stabilize since the second half of 2015; (2) taxis are found to compete more effectively with ridesourcing in peak period (6–10 AM, 5–8 PM) and in areas with high population density. (3) e-hailing helps lift the capacity utilization rate of taxis. Yet, the gains are generally modest except for the off-peak period, and excessive competition can lead to severely under-utilized capacities; and (4) ridesourcing worsens congestion for taxis in the city, but the impact was relatively mild. We conclude that a dedicated service fleet with exclusive street-hailing access will continue to co-exist with ridesourcing and that regulations are needed to ensure this market operate properly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-256
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Capacity utilization rate
  • Ridesourcing
  • Street-hailing
  • Transportation network company
  • e-hailing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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