Didi Chuxing has implemented new restrictions on its platform which will only allow drivers to pick up passengers of the same sex during the early morning and late night periods. The new measures of pairing drivers and passengers of the same sex will be active between 5 am till 6 am and 10 pm till 12 am. Didi had initially suspended the service before limiting service hours to 6am to 10pm. The same sex measures will allow the feature to operate between 5 am till midnight effectively again. Also beginning this weekend, Didi will also release an in-app feature dubbed "escort mode," that will allow passengers to share their route and destination with emergency contacts. Uber has announced in April they will be offering a similar feature as part of their overhaul.
The new policies reflect an ongoing response to the murder of a Ms.Li, a 21-year-old flight attendant who was allegedly raped and murdered by a male driver, who had stolen his father's phone and posed as him. Since the murder, the Chinese government and Didi themselves has brought on a string of reforms in the ride-hailing industry. Under the reforms, the seven ministries supervising the ride-hailing industry are entitled to summon ride-hailing drivers and their platforms for investigation and correction if unlicensed services, information leaks, tax evasion, unfair competition, illegal transactions or other irregularities are reported or observed.
Didi has a mandatory facial-recognition scanning for all drivers before they pick up any fares. This is to help ensure only the registered Didi driver is accessing the app. Didi has also said they would remove pictures and personal information from users' public profiles. Female passengers have long criticized the use of public profile pictures, citing drivers has often left comments regarding their appearances. Didi, the largest ride-hailing company in the country connects more than 25 million rides each day and has more than 21 million drivers and car owners registered. Currently only 10 percent of drivers are female. The ride-hailing firm does not have any major competitors in the country since they traded a minor stake in their company for Uber China in 2016.