Didi Chux­ing sus­pends car­pool ser­vice af­ter wo­man killed

The Malta Business Weekly - - INTERNATIONAL -

China's ride-hail­ing gi­ant Didi Chux­ing has sus­pended its car­pool ser­vice af­ter po­lice said a driver had raped and killed a fe­male pas­sen­ger.

A com­pany state­ment said the in­ci­dent showed there were de­fi­cien­cies in its pro­cesses and so it would sus­pend its Hitch sys­tem for re-eval­u­a­tion.

Didi Chux­ing is the world's largest ride-hail com­pany by num­ber of trips.

China's trans­port min­istry has de­manded ac­tion from the taxi gi­ant to en­sure pas­sen­ger safety.

Steps re­port­edly in­clude bet­ter driver vet­ting and ed­u­ca­tion for driv­ers.

Po­lice say the wo­man, 20, got into the taxi in the eastern city of Wen­zhou at 1pm on Fri­day.

An hour later she mes­saged a friend for help be­fore los­ing con­tact.

The 27-year-old driver, named only as Zhong, was de­tained early on Satur­day morn­ing and con­fessed to rap­ing and murdering his pas­sen­ger, po­lice say.

The body has been re­cov­ered and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing.

Didi Chux­ing said Zhong had had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record but it ad­mit­ted there had been a pre­vi­ous com­plaint made against him.

A pre­vi­ous pas­sen­ger al­legedly said the driver had taken them to a re­mote place and fol­lowed them af­ter they left the car.

A sim­i­lar in­ci­dent hap­pened in May in a dif­fer­ent part of China, when a 21-year-old flight at­ten­dant died af­ter us­ing the ser­vice in Zhengzhou.

The com­pany sus­pended and changed Didi Hitch, which pairs car own­ers and pas­sen­gers.

Re­act­ing to the lat­est death, Didi said it was "too high a cost to pay" and had shown "the many de­fi­cien­cies with our cus­tomer ser­vice pro­cesses".

The com­pany also fired the head and vice pres­i­dent of Hitch.

Didi Chux­ing re­port­edly com­pleted more than one bil­lion jour­neys in the past three years.

In 2016, US taxi app Uber agreed to sell its lo­cal busi­ness to Didi af­ter fail­ing to make a profit.

"These two vi­cious in­ci­dents that have vi­o­lated the life and safety of pas­sen­gers has [have] ex­posed the gap­ing oper­a­tional loop­holes of the Didi Chux­ing plat­form," the trans­port min­istry said in a state­ment quoted by AFP news agency.

"The Min­istry de­mands that Didi... stops mak­ing empty prom­ises and takes con­crete steps to en­sur­ing pas­sen­gers' safety."

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