- Wang He/Getty Images
- China’s ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing will limit some carpool rides based on gender.
- For three hours late at night and early in the morning, drivers will only be able to pick up passengers of the same sex they are.
- The change comes after a female passenger was allegedly murdered by an unverified carpool driver last month.
China’s ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing is restricting the way its car pool feature can be used at night, allowing drivers to only pick up passengers of the same sex.
The safety of the car pool service, known as Hitch, drew criticism last month when a 21-year-old female flight attendant using the service was allegedly killed by her driver. The unverified driver allegedly used his father’s account pick up the victim up.
Didi apologized for the incident and vowed to review its safety measures. The $50 billion company said it would introduce compulsory facial recognition for drivers, ditch passenger profile photos, and stop using attractiveness ratings which, according to Bloomberg, allowed users to rate female passengers as “goddesses” and “beauties.”
It also temporarily suspended the carpooling service between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Hitch will now be returning between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. and 5 am. and 6 a.m. with drivers limited to picking up passengers of the same sex. Only 10% of Didi’s drivers are female.
Didi said in a statement on Wednesday it will soon begin testing an “escort mode” allowing passengers to share their routes and destinations with emergency contacts, a feature similar to one provided by Uber.
Didi Chuxing has little local competition in the Chinese ride-sharing space after it acquired Uber’s China stake in 2016. The company also has stakes in just about every major cab-hailing service globally, with interests in US service Lyft, Japan’s Grab, and India’s Ola to date.