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China's Didi Chuxing adds safety measures for ride-sharing service after passenger murder

admin 195 May 16, 2018

Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing has announced new safety measures for one of its carpooling services following the murder of a passenger.

The company said on Wednesday that it would hide the personal data and profile pictures of passengers and drivers on "Didi Hitch," a ride-sharing facility that let passengers traveling in the same direction share the cost of the trip. Didi Hitch is one of 13 services offered by the firm.

The murder of a 21-year-old female flight attendant earlier this month in Zhengzhou, the capital of China's Henan province, has forced the start-up to shake up its service as worries mount over safety.

According to Didi, the man driving the vehicle was not detected by the app's night mode facial recognition as its night safety mechanism was defective. On Wednesday, the company said it will enforce compulsory driver facial recognition for each Didi Hitch trip to prevent unapproved use of the app.

Didi apologized following the death of the woman, who has been identified only as "Ms. Li," and said it had a responsibility to address the incident. The company's ride-hitching service has been temporarily suspended across China since May 12.

Didi said its broader offering would also be revamped, with a facial recognition test for drivers every day and a redesigned emergency help button that shares trip information with users' emergency contacts. Those measures will be implemented by May 31, the company said.

Didi is the largest ride-hailing start-up in China, with 450 million users. The company bought Uber's Chinese business in 2016, and this year made its first direct expansion abroad, into Mexico.