high-profile murderand with numerous accounts of male drivers harassing and exposing themselves to their female passengers, the company has made a number of changes in the interest of safety. But have they now gone too far?idi Chuxing has found itself in a considerable amount of trouble recently regarding the safety (or lack thereof) of its female ride-hailers. In the wake of a
Following the killing of a 21-year-old flight attendant in Zhengzhou by her driver, Didi temporarily limited its Hitch service to only daytime hours (stopping each night between 10pm and 6am). As the name suggests, Hitch is a hitchhiking feature which Didi offers that allows car owners to pick up passengers who happen to be going in their same direction in exchange for a bit of gas money.
With a number of security loopholes, the feature had been widely criticized as a “disaster waiting to happen.” Hitch had allowed both drivers and passengers to create public profiles where others could give leave ratings and reviews. Quickly, these profiles became a way for sleazy drivers to rate female riders based on their looks, tagging women as having “sexy legs” or “amazing bodies” with the women having no way of removing the inappropriate comments.
Last month, Didi announced that it was revamping the problematic Hitch profile system with user-uploaded public profile photos replaced by default images and the ability to leave ratings and reviews scrapped. Several other safety measures were also included in this announcement with one mandating that drivers must sign in via selfie prior to each Hitch trip. Previously, this was only required at the start of each shift.
And now, Didi has announced that, due to popular demand, it will partially resume Hitch’s nighttime services, but with a shockingly discriminatory twist.
Starting on June 15th, Hitch hours will be extended with the service available from 5am to 12am. However, between the hours of 5am to 6am and 10pm to 12am, drivers will only be able to pick up passengers of the same sex.
On Twitter, New York Times reporter Sui-Lee Wee commented on the extreme unfairness of this arrangement, noting that women who want to travel during those hours will have to wait for female Didi drivers, a rather rare sight.
Hmm. Didi's solution to complaints from female riders about sexual harassment on its night carpooling service is to have male drivers only pick up male passengers. Women have to wait for female drivers. h/t @oliviamryan https://t.co/lYpGglD7zw
— Sui-Lee Wee 黄瑞黎 (@suilee) June 13, 2018
Underneath her post, one woman writes: “I’ve had ONE female Didi driver in my entire time using the app, post-Uber exit.” Uber left China in August 2016.
Perhaps—and we’re just spitballing here—rather than drastically limiting its services’ accessibility for female riders, Didi should invest more in thoroughly vetting its drivers and enhancing its security precautions should more murderous creeps slip through the system.
To its credit, Didi also announced that on June 22nd it will begin testing out its new “escort mode” which will allow passengers to share their routes and destinations with their emergency contacts on their phones. When the young woman was murdered last month, the last anyone heard from her were some messages she sent to a friend describing her driver as acting like a pervert. Her body wasn’t found until three days later.