Didi launches bike rental feature for blowing the whistle on ‘uncivilized’ users

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Didi’s self-branded bikes in Chengdu (Image credit: Didi Chuxing)

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is rolling out a feature on its bike-rental platform allowing its users to report each other for “uncivilized” behavior.

The feature enables users to blow the whistle on others who have damaged or vandalized bikes, used a bike for a prolonged period, or parked improperly. Didi told TechNode that it started rolling out the reporting function gradually in early December.

Once reported, the severity of punishments depends on factors including the seriousness of the damage to the bike and the willingness of the offender to cooperate after being caught. The company said it sends out text messages and in-app notifications to alert users before issuing punishments. In more severe cases, offenders would be handed over to the police.

So far, more than 1,000 user accounts have been frozen for periods ranging from five to 90 days, according to Chinese media reports.  Since Jan. 1, the platform has received more than 30,000 complaints from users. The company did not elaborate to TechNode on further punishments.

Didi first introduced its bike rental platform to major Chinese cities including Beijing and Shenzhen in January 2018. The platform is integrated into its main ride-hailing app and features the company’s bike rental brand Didi Bike, as well as others including Ofo.

Chinese bike rental operators such as Ofo and Mobike have also introduced measures to discourage the misuse of their bikes to shake their reputation for crowding city streets following the bike-rental boom in 2017.

Mobike implemented a credit scoring system last February, in which users can earn and lose points for good and bad behavior. Negative behavior includes “riding bikes in an unsafe manner and ignoring traffic rules.” In June, the company started requiring riders to park in designated zones. Recently, Ofo said it was considering a similar measure on its platform.

The Chinese government has imposed stricter regulations on the country’s bike-rental companies. Last year, authorities banned operators from deploying more bikes in major cities like Beijing by capping the total number of bikes permitted on the streets.