Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi has rolled out a series of features aimed at curbing bad behavior among drunk passengers, marking the latest security enhancement aimed at both users and drivers.
Drivers are permitted to report drunk passengers and cancel their trips should they threaten the safety of themselves or the driver. However, they must complete the journey if a drunk passenger’s behavior isn’t perceived as being dangerous.
The company implemented the policy in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen’s non-premium services as a pilot project yesterday (Dec. 10). It will be soliciting feedback from drivers and passengers at the same time.
The company is also encouraging sober passengers to accompany drunk friends to reduce risks. A user’s emergency contact uploaded to their Didi profile will be contacted if needed. Drivers can also apply to have a passenger pay a cleaning fee should they throw up in the car.
Didi said the driver complaints and service charge applications would be stored for reference in future disputes.
The implementation of the new policy comes after a conference the company organized last month to discuss safety protocols, which included the opinions and proposals of 269,000 netizens. Before the rollout of the policy, Didi’s internal management team received around 30,000 drunk passenger complaints and reports from drivers nationwide daily, the company told TechNode.
The Chinese government and public lambasted Didi in the aftermath of the murder of two passengers. The company then scrambled to implement a number of updated safety features, including a voice recording function to keep in-car communication on record for dispute resolution, a blacklist function allowing passengers and drivers to block each other for 12 months, and an in-app panic button.
The company has also been increasing the stringency of its background checks for drivers. In Beijing, rules require that drivers and cars be registered in the city. Compliance with the policy has reduced Didi’s available workforce and led to some driver shortages.