Chinese car-hailing platform Didi Chuxing on Saturday introduced a whole-ride recording function as a trial and suspended late-night services for a week, as the largest mobile ride-hailing platform kicks off an overhaul of its safety practices following the deaths of two passengers in less than 100 days.
From September 8, Didi launched trials to record audio during rides across the ride-hailing services available on its platforms in mainland China. Didi platforms will also be suspended between 11 pm and 5 am from September 8 to 15, a Sina news report has said.
The two new initiatives come after Didi's decision to suspend its Hitch ride-sharing service from August 27, a day after police said a female user of the service was raped and killed by her driver in a Chinese city.
Didi founder Cheng Wei has also apologized in a public statement, saying that the Chinese startup will no longer take scale and growth as measures of its development and will work with public security departments to build up security protection mechanisms.
The incident in late August was the second similar case in less than three months. On May 6, a 21-year-old flight attendant in China's Henan province died at the hands of a 26-year-old driver when she was using the Hitch service.
The two cases hit Didi's business and reputation in China as users and media have been criticizing the company for lack of passenger safety. An inspection team led by the Ministry of Transport has also initiated on-site checks at the company, while several local governments in China have also demanded Didi come up with viable solutions to enhance its safety mechanisms.
But Didi's temporary suspension of late-night services has also brought up side-effects as users, who have been enjoying the services over the past year, found that it was no longer easy to find a ride back home late at night, said the Sina news report.
Some illegal private cabs are charging double the prices of normal rides as taxi services are in scarcity and the Didi app has been disabled for usage during midnight, according to an on-site test by the Sina reporter.
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