A week into work, Beijing's central business district is still empty and quiet. （CGTN Photo）
With people returning to work, it also means more competition for customers from private drivers, who share the same ride-hailing platforms with taxi drivers to receive online bookings but offer more options in terms of price and comfort. "More private cars in the street means less jobs for us," Wang noted.
In the wake of the outbreak, these jobs come with increased risks of contracting the deadly coronavirus. While most workers are told to avoid close proximity with other people, taxi drivers are lining up to pick up passengers in crowded places. For many, money is not the only concern.
A driver surnamed Jiao told CGTN that he was reluctant to be back on the road, because the last thing he wants is putting his 10-year-old son at risk of infection. "I'm not afraid of getting infected. It is my kid I'm worried about," he said.
Jiao's company is providing drivers with face masks and gloves to persuade them to resume work as soon as possible.
There might be a silver lining to the situation after all. Commuters coming back to work this week are reportedly finding it harder to book a ride through a hailing app, as many people now favor taxis over public transport for more peace of mind.
As for the driver, every stranger that gets in the car brings new unknowns.
"All I can do is to be more careful myself," Wang said. "Just stay well, and not cause any trouble for society."