Air conditioning struggle in Chinese taxis - may a customer demand that the air conditioning be turned on in a taxi?

Recently, China's WeChat newsgroups have often reported on an "air-conditioning fight" between drivers and passengers calling a car online, causing heated discussions.


Drivers in some Chinese cities even post a payment notice right in front of the passenger seat asking them to “turn on the air conditioner and charge an extra 10 yuan in cash” and attach a separate QR code for payment. These incidents were interpreted as an escalation of "conflict between driver and passenger".


The “air-conditioning war” between driver and passenger does exist, but to call it a modernization of the “driver-passenger conflict” would be somewhat of an exaggeration. In fact, this is an old theme that the public will pay attention to every hot summer.


When the weather is very hot in the city, the demand of passengers to turn on the air conditioner increases dramatically, compared with not turning on the air conditioner, the cost of operating a taxi will increase to 2,000 yuan per month if the air conditioner is turned on.


The taxi driver is therefore not motivated to turn on the air conditioner. With the advent of the recent heat wave and the sharp rise in oil prices, this enthusiasm will be lower, so the frequency of "air conditioning wars" will also increase accordingly.


There is no easy solution to the Air Conditioning Battle. For example, in Shanghai, it is stipulated that every year from June 1 to September 30, and also when the temperature is above 28 degrees Celsius, the driver must turn on the vehicle's air conditioning. If the air conditioning or ventilation is not turned on properly, the passenger may refuse to pay the fare.


Some online taxi booking platforms in China have made it clear that the air-conditioning service charge is included in the taxi fare by default, but there are also some platforms that do not explicitly indicate air-conditioning related problems in the fare.


In this case, the forced activation of the air conditioner can lead not only to an increase in costs and energy consumption, but also to new "conflicts between the driver and the passenger." Therefore, the "Chongqing Road Transport Regulations" stipulates that drivers must "use air conditioners, audio systems and other equipment and vehicles in accordance with the requirements of passengers", and in other cities in China, it is necessary to look at the rules of these cities to organize taxi operation.


Obviously, the "principle of negotiation" should be the best way to deal with the "air-conditioning battle" in practice, and ordering a car online is no exception. If a small number of drivers cannot agree, passengers have the right to complain and make negative comments, which will ultimately affect the work or income of the driver and achieve a deterrent effect.