(Yicai Global) June 14 -- Didi Chuxing has decided to restore its Didi Hitch service for partial nocturnal periods starting tomorrow after a thorough assessment of the performance of its existing safety system over the last three weeks, it announced yesterday.
The specific periods available for orders are 10.00 to 12.00 p.m. and 5.00 to 6.00 a.m., but the carpooling service is available only if drivers and passengers are of the same gender.
The move comes as part of the ride-hailing giant’s damage-control campaign after a Didi driver murdered a 21-year old flight attendant in Zhenghou, capital of east-central Henan province, on May 6 when she used the app to ride in his car late at night, which ignited social debate on Didi's safety management. The firm suspended the service for several weeks in response.
Hitch lets passengers summon a car with their smartphones and ride-share with strangers bound the same way. Earlier advertisements appearing on Didi’s social media accounts portrayed Hitch as an avenue for romantic introduction, Reuters reported May 16. Didi is seemingly intent on emphasizing the 'hitchhiking' element of the service's name while downplaying any nuptial connotations it may convey.
The revived service will also unveil its new trial model on June 22 in specific areas, per which the platform will conduct real-time monitoring and intervene in the event of any irregularity.
The safety co-building function, which displays authenticated photos and vehicle profiles uploaded by drivers and passengers and which is open to both sides for checking and verification before the service starts, provides safety guarantees to users.
The company’s other services like Didi Express, Designated Driving, Social Ridesharing, and Didi Minibus will also conduct tests this month for the driving record function in designated areas nationwide to evaluate its feasibility.
Didi is China’s biggest ride-hailing startup, with 450 million users. The company swallowed up Uber's business in the country in 2016 and this year staged its first overseas foray into the Mexican market, per the Reuters report.
Editor: Ben Armour