Didi Apologizes, Modifies 'Sexist' Hitch Relaunch Plan

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 8, 2019

Didi's booth at WAIC Shanghai on Aug 30, 2019.

Didi Chuxing, China's leading mobile ride-hailing platform, said Thursday it will relaunch its hitchhiking service in seven Chinese cities at the end of this month.

Safety reforms to "Hitch" - separate from Didi's main ride-hailing platform - were announced Wednesday following a suspension of the service after two female passengers were murdered by male drivers a year ago.

The trial will start with trips within 50 km in downtown areas between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. for male users.

Meanwhile, Mexico City will become the third in the country to welcome Didi's food delivery business - Didi Food - after Guadalajara and Monterrey, the company announced Tuesday.

The trial relaunch of Hitch will come with enhanced safety features and a now-canceled women's safety program.

All users will only be able to use Hitch between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. when it relaunches from November 20, the later statement added.

Context: Didi has faced scrutiny in the past for allowing sexist practices to creep into its services.

Furthermore, to improve safety and user experience during a Hitch ride, Didi will include measures like ID and facial verification, background checks on drivers by local public security bureaus, real-time location sharing with a friend or family member, a dedicated 24/7 safety line, as well as examining drivers' social credit scores prior to partnering with Didi.

Last year's murder case badly dented Didi's image as it tries to expand overseas to compete with rivals such as Uber, and prompted the company to pledge to prioritise safety over growth.

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