Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi will over time remove drivers and vehicles that do not meet the company’s safety requirements, the latest in a series of safety measures following an investigation by China’s transportation authority.
The company made the announcement last night as part of a new round of plans to increase safety on its platform. Didi said it would gradually reduce orders dispatched to non-compliant drivers until they no longer received any passengers.
The safety upgrades follow a high-profile investigation by China’s Ministry of Transport, which claimed that the company had “lost control” of its drivers and vehicles after a series of safety issues. It said Didi’s carpool service Hitch lacked adequate safety measures, which could result in significant hazards. The ministry vowed to fine Didi executives.
Last week, a former Didi driver was sentenced to death for the 2016 murder of a passenger in Shenzhen.
The company plans to report its progress in removing drivers and vehicles in the future as it is setting targets to meet compliance standards, which vary between regions and cities.
Didi said that it would also increase the amount of data shared between it and the government. Regulations stipulate that data including driver information, car locations, and routes should be shared. The country’s police database is already used for driver’s background checks.
The new mechanism will also involve the police for handling emergency issues, with a 24-hour hotline for law enforcement to gain access to information from Didi should a safety issue arise. Data mining and machine learning will be used to identify abnormal behavior, such as route deviations, order canceling, and cars pulling over.
The company has faced increased scrutiny this year following the alleged murder of two female passengers by Didi drivers. The incidents caused public outcry, forcing the company to overhaul its services, implement new safety measures including stricter background checks, and appoint a team in charge of emergency management.
It has also previously implemented a blacklist feature, enabling passengers and drivers to block each other, and piloted a function to cut down on bad behavior by drunk passengers.