Ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) will resume part of its night-time Hitch services (顺风车) on June 15, allowing drivers picking up same-sex passengers only.
According to a company statement, the carpooling service will resume from 10 p.m. to midnight and 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. only and drivers can only pick up passengers of the same sex. To improve safety measures, the platform will first beta test later this month a route sharing function in a small group of users where the trip route can be automatically shared with passengers’ emergency contacts.
The platform will track the route and intervene when emergencies occur. There will also be an information sharing scheme where passengers and drivers can view each other’s information before the passenger set foot in the vehicle. The company will also evaluate the feasibility of real-time audio recording in the company’s other types ride-hailing services and consider whether or not to push the function nationwide. This function was already launched for Hitch services in May. The recording starts when passengers click the in-app help button and Didi will start monitoring.
Didi suspended night-time road sharing service on May 16 to evaluate the risks of night-time trips and the entire Hitch services had been suspended for a week after a female passenger was murdered by her driver when using the service in earlier that month. Unlike regular ride-hailing services, Didi Hitch groups people who are heading in a similar direction in and between cities. Usually, the passengers just cover their share of fuel costs. Before the notorious murder, the Hitch function was viewed as a social media platform and drivers can comment on the passengers’ personality and physical attractiveness, many of which were disrespectful towards female passengers.