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Pudong Airport Banned Didi and Other Online Ride-Hailing Services

Is is just temporary?
2024-02-01 12:00:00

[Update February 4., 2024] Responding to feedback from the public, local traffic authorities have decided to resume ride-hailing services within the airport area starting today.


A notice issued by the Shanghai Municipal Road Transport Administrative Bureau has sparked discussions among netizens. To ensure smooth and orderly traffic on the landside of Pudong Airport, especially during the Chinese New Year travel rush, the operation of online ride-hailing vehicles soliciting passengers within the Pudong Airport area is strictly prohibited.


We tried using Didi to hail a cab at Pudong Airport and discovered that it is indeed no longer possible to book an online ride. A pop-up message box suggests that passengers choose alternative transportation methods for their travel.

We also tried to see if booking an online ride from other locations to Pudong Airport is possible. As of now, it seems to still be feasible. It appears that only online rides from Pudong Airport have been restricted.

The more challenging aspect is that if Didi vehicles are not allowed to pick up at the airport, then no Didi driver will want to take people to the airport. Consequently, the whole supply and demand dynamic for airport transportation is suddenly upended. This might end up being a major inconvenience for thousands of foreign residents who relied on Didi's English APP to make inner city travel smoother, espescially if they don't speak mandarin.

No explicit reason for the new regulation has been provided. There are rumors that this is happening because Didi is adversely affecting the taxi business, and that Didi drivers waiting on the highway leading up to the airport are indeed causing traffic blockages.

What Are The Options Now?

Regular taxis, of course. CTrip offers an option to pre-book cars with drivers for just a little more than what you'd pay for a Didi. Just go to the main page of your Ctrip app, click on 接送机/包车 (Airport transfer/charter service), enter your flight number and address, choose the type of car you prefer, and you're all set. There are several platforms to choose from, and if you choose Ctrip's service, cancellation is free.

And of course, the good old Maglev train to get halfway into downtown.

Or, if you really want to take a Didi, take metro line 2 at the airport and get off after one stop, Haitiansan Road. You should be able to call a Didi from there.

Mafan :(

Are Other Transportation Hubs Affected?

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, and Shanghai Railway Station have not been affected; you can still book online rides as usual.

Many netizens have expressed dissatisfaction with this measure:

"Pudong Airport is already quite large, and after getting off the plane, I had to take the metro to the exit. Now online ride-hailing is not allowed, and the app doesn't provide any notification until you try to call one."

"My flight landed at Pudong Airport on the evening of January 31st around 7:30pm. Following the guidance to go to B1 level to hail an online ride, I discovered that it was not possible. There were no signs at Pudong Airport indicating this restriction, and Didi did not provide any alerts. It was truly frustrating to run into this issue, especially with so much luggage."

"Why make things difficult for passengers? Didi is quite reliable. It's more reassuring and convenient to use an online ride-hailing service when returning home from Pudong Airport. Airports across the country have clear signage and designated areas for online ride-hailing. Taxis are not necessarily better than online ride-hailing services."

Currently, this measure seems to apply only during the Chinese New Year period, but the exact time of its reinstatement remains unclear.