Briefing: Didi Chuxing Relaunches Carpool Service

Marco Green
November 8, 2019

Didi's booth at WAIC Shanghai on Aug 30, 2019.

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing apologized and made changes to a relaunch plan for its controversial Hitch carpooling service after being accused of sexism for setting different operating hours for women and men.

Didi's announcement initially drew some criticism after it said women would only be allowed to use the service between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., while men could ride until 11 p.m. Didi later changed the rule and said it would limit male passengers to 8 at night. "The trial starts with trips under 50 kilometers in metro areas between 5am and 8pm for female users, and 5am and 11pm for male users".

Details: Didi on Wednesday announced that it would relaunch Hitch on a trial basis later this month, more than a year after suspending the service. Female users will be able to use the service between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Last year's murder case badly dented Didi's image as it tries to expand overseas to compete with rivals such as Uber, and prompted the company to pledge to prioritise safety over growth.

Furthermore, to improve safety and user experience during a Hitch ride, Didi will include measures like ID and facial verification, background checks on drivers by local public security bureaus, real-time location sharing with a friend or family member, a dedicated 24/7 safety line, as well as examining drivers' social credit scores prior to partnering with Didi.

The focus on safety has had a significant effect on the company, resulting in reported losses of almost RMB 11 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2018.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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