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Didi Chuxing

Didi considers letting users choose their own route as it seeks feedback from customers in wake of safety overhaul

  • Didi said during October it received over 11,000 comments – including 386 in English
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 11:25am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 11:25am

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, is considering letting users choose their preferred route from in-app navigation recommendations in response to customer feedback as it tries to shore up public faith following two alleged murders committed by its drivers.

In a statement issued on Wednesday Didi said during October it received over 11,000 comments – including 386 in English – on issues ranging from changes in estimated arrival times and fares to “whether drivers can hold up a sign at airport arrival halls”.

Language barriers were one issue, with English speakers complaining about the use of English translations for some road and building names instead of pinyin, and being turned down by drivers who do not speak English. Users also asked if they can suggest routes to avoid congested areas, instead of having drivers rely solely on the in-app navigation.

Didi said it is in the middle of a “thorough review” of existing translations and will look into the user suggestions. The platform now provides an in-app English-Chinese instant messaging translation function, which enables riders and drivers to communicate in preset or hand-typed messages.

The company will also look into suggestions of adding a “share location picture” function, enabling passengers to share pickup points with drivers in case there are verbal communication problems.

Didi plans to hire more Party members in China to act as customer service ‘role models’ amid safety overhaul

Hitch services, which pairs private car owners with passengers heading in the same direction, will remain suspended indefinitely as Didi sorts through “complications” behind proposed safety enhancements and operation of the service, according to the statement.

The company has been undertaking a safety overhaul in the wake of the alleged rape and murder of two female passengers. A review of public court records by the South China Morning Post showed at least a dozen previous sexual assault convictions involving Didi drivers and their passengers.

Police in Yueqing city, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, found the body of a 20-year-old female surnamed Zhao in August, and arrested a Didi driver who confessed to her rape and murder.

In May, another woman, aged 21, was raped and killed in Zhengzhou, in central China, allegedly by an unregistered Didi driver. Her body was later found in a river.

Didi, which counts tech giants Tencent Holdings, Baidu and Alibaba Group among its shareholders, is said to be exploring an initial public offering and is locked in an ongoing battle in ride hailing with new rivals including DiDa Chuxing, UCAR, Geely’s Caocao Car and Meituan Dianping.

Alibaba is the parent company of the Post.

The Didi user feedback report is not all serious though. It reveals that Didi’s customer service help passengers find nearly 5,000 lost items on an average day, including smartphones, purses, cash, as well as wedding rings, pancakes and crayfish.