Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is trying to make its Hitch cab service safer for users, after a 21-year-old female passenger using the app was allegedly murdered by her driver.
Hitch is the social ride-sharing service inside the Didi transport app. It lets passengers carpool with other users, a little like UberPOOL in the US or UK.
It also allowed passengers and drivers to rate each other by appearance. According to Bloomberg, this allowed users to rate female passengers as “goddesses” and “beauties.”
Didi Chuxing, which said its app has 450 million users, said it would remove these ratings. Drivers will also no longer be able to see passenger photos or personal information, replacing all profile pictures with a default image.
The woman in question was allegedly murdered after an unauthorised driver used his father’s Hitch account to pick his victim up. Didi said it would roll out compulsory facial recognition for every Hitch trip to “minimise the risk of unapproved account use.”
And the company will suspend the carpooling service after 10 p.m. every night until 6 a.m. the next day while it bolsters its passenger safety measures. The company is also considering voice recording every trip in order to resolve disputes between passengers and drivers.
” We are committed to fully taking our due legal responsibilities related to traffic accident, public security, criminal cases, and disputes on our platform,” the firm wrote in an update.
Didi suspended its Hitch service a week ago when news of the murder first emerged. The case has generated considerable media coverage inside China and, according to the BBC, is being widely discussed on social media service Weibo.
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.