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Beijing this month introduced a registration system for express-delivery tricycles by standardizing the appearance of such vehicles and issuing safety instruction cards to couriers, officials said.
Insurance policies for the tricycles have also become a must for express-delivery companies.
The new coating for electric tricycles, primarily on the cargo trunk, features the word “kuaidi (express)”, with the vehicle’s eight-digit registration number on the top half, and the company’s logo and contact information on the bottom half.
“About 57,000 tricycles had completed recoating by early this month, including 40 delivery companies,” said Niu Jianming, office director at the Secretariat of Beijing Express Association. “Some old tricycles do not meet the set standards, and we are urging the companies to discard them.”
“We register the information of every tricycle, including its registration number and its owner,” said Zhao Xin, an official from Beijing’s traffic management bureau.
According to Zhao, traffic police officers will use such information to track down companies if an express-delivery tricycle is found breaking the law. Citizens can also report severe breaches of traffic rules through a hotline, quoting the tricycle’s registration number.
In addition to the unified appearances of the tricycles, compulsory insurance and mandatory training sessions for couriers are also listed in the regulatory measures.
“Our tricycles have been covered by full insurance packages, covering common situations,” said a branch runner of ZTO Express, a company recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, who declined to be named.
“The tricycle is only a carrier,” Niu said. “It’s the overall quality and safety awareness that need to be improved.”
He said express companies will receive punishments, including restrictions on renewing registration of tricycles, if the association gets too many complaints about their couriers, adding that new methods, such as the use of GPS chips, will help regulate the industry in the future.
However, Niu said this is only a temporary, self-disciplinary approach during a transition phase, as the national standard is yet to be issued.
The legal status of electric tricycles remains ambiguous, as they are yet to be categorized as either motorized or nonmotorized vehicles, meaning there is a lack of consistency in the law when dealing with accidents involving such tricycles.
In addition, to deliver numerous packages as quickly as possible, some couriers choose to ignore traffic rules, including driving rapidly in the bicycle lane or running red lights.