Civility strikes back
Updated: 2015-08-01 08:16
By Xu Lin(China Daily)
The Internet, apps and the many other technological trappings of 21st century life are doing nothing but turn us all into selfish, asocial automatons. Right? Wrong
It used to be one of Ma Tianyi's best and most reliable friends. No matter what his mood was, in sunshine, hail, rain or snow, waiting for him each day as he prepared to journey to and from work was his car radio.
Even if the conversation was all one way, it relieved the monotony of the 38-year-old's one-hour commute to and from the office and was a good distraction on days when Beijing's bumper-to-bumper traffic could try the patience of a saint.
But these days Ma's radio has taken a back seat, ousted by 21st century technology that has spawned a whole new set of friends for him, and with these friends the conversation is no longer one-way traffic.
The technology is none other than the ubiquitous app, in this case Dida Pinche, which allows people to pool cars.
"It's a good social circle through which we can meet many people and make friends."
Like him, more private car owners and passengers are now using carpooling apps, drawn not only by how much money it saves them and the feel-good factor of doing something for the environment but also their role as a social adhesive at a time when it often seems the technology of the selfie generation is driving us apart.
There are several popular carpooling apps in China. The app Dida Pinche, whose proprietor's headquarters are in Beijing, has more than 1.5 million registered car owners and 16 million users. It covers more than 40 cities, and its proprietors say it takes more than 1.2 million a day.