Didi apologises, vows changes after passenger killing

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 30, 2018.
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SAN FRANCISCO: China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing issued a public letter of apology and said it would prioritise safety over growth after a second passenger in three months was allegedly killed by a driver while using its services.

“Didi will stop using scale and growth as our measurements of success,” the company said in a statement from chairman Cheng Wei And president Jean Liu. “We shall prioritise safety as the single most important performance indicator.”

The ride-hailer has been criticised by state media, regulators and social media users that have begun to publicly delete the app after a woman was killed while using its Hitch car-pooling service, the second customer death in three months. 

The company announced on Sunday that it would suspend the service and had removed two executives in light of the Aug 24 death. A driver in the eastern city of Wenzhou suspected in the killing had been detained, Chinese state media reported.

Didi first announced that it was overhauling safety procedures after a May incident where a female customer was killed using Hitch, marketed as a social ride-sharing service that allows drivers and passengers to rate one another by appearance.

One of the changes was to involve the redesign of its emergency help button to display it more prominently on the app.

In Tuesday’s statement, entitled Our Deepest Apologies, the company said it had not succeeded in protecting its passengers and had to “take on our responsibility” in light of the deaths. — Bloomberg