Didi Fires 300,000 Drivers After Multiple Murders Last Year

By Jesse Pottinger, July 3, 2019

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In the wake of three tragic incidents involving the deaths of female Didi passengers in 2018, the Chinese ride-hailing titan vowed to ramp up efforts to ensure their passengers safety.

As part of those efforts, the company announced on Tuesday that they have removed 300,000 drivers from their service who didn’t meet their new safety standards, according to Tech Crunch.

Didi Chuxing received widespread criticism after back-to-back incidents last year resulted in two murdered passengers, with the public accusing the mobility enterprise of valuing profits over human lives.

The backlash resulted in a safety overhaul that saw the elimination of its ‘Hitch’ ride-sharing service, and a temporary ban on late-night pick-ups.

Other safety measures include the addition of audio recording in all Didi vehicles and a panic button that can be triggered within the Didi app. Passengers and drivers also have the option to block one another if they are dissatisfied with the interaction.

Additionally, drivers with ratings that are too low will be temporarily provided with fewer passengers and given two weeks to raise their rating. If they fail to do so, they will be banned from the service, according to Ctoutiao.com

Reaching a USD80 billion valuation in 2018, CEO Cheng Wei and President Liu Qing vowed to stop using scale and growth as a measurement in an open letter to the public. The company also acknowledged that its focus on growth has done irreversible damage, Tech Crunch reports.

READ MORE: Teens hitch 1,400km Didi Ride from Shenzhen With Only ¥200

With the recent driver reduction and additional safety restrictions on new hires, Didi is faced with the dilemma of figuring out how to continue to provide short wait times for customers – a fundamental element of the companys success.

Tech Crunch cited a report by The Information claiming that Didi is in discussion with Softbank – Didis largest shareholder – about investing in autonomous vehicles.

They have also poured serious money into the expansion of their support staff, and now have 9,000 representatives working around the clock.

This move, too, was a product of criticism regarding Didis failure to address customer concerns in a timely manner, having previously outsourced their call center work.  

Didi claims to receive 300,000 calls per day, of which 1.7% are safety related, according to Tech Crunch. The majority of those calls are addressed through bots, which they say can respond to 95% of safety concerns in less than 30 minutes.

READ MORE: Didi Rolls Out New Rules for Drunk Passengers

[Cover image via @每日经济新闻·/Weibo]

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