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Didi cuts redundant staff, but vows to hire more to boost safety

Didi said it is to cut 2,000 staff, or about 15 percent of its personnel, to ensure legitimate operation and passenger safety in the wake of two deadly incidents last year.

Didi said it is to cut 2,000 staff, or about 15 percent of its personnel, to ensure legitimate operation and passenger safety in the wake of two deadly incidents last year.

At the same time it will add about 2,500 staff to tackle safety issues to focus on technologies, products and operation as well as management of vehicles and drivers in the future.

Its total staff number will be around 13,500 by the end of this year, largely unchanged from about 13,000 at the end of 2018.

According to an employee meeting earlier today, chief executive officer Cheng Wei said the company will focus on its core ride-hailing business in the coming year.

The lay-offs will mainly target redundant staff and those who couldn't meet assessment standards.

Didi last year pledged to increase by about 3,000 in-house customer service personnel following two murder cases of two passengers by Didi Hitch drivers in Wenzhou and Zhengzhou.

"Didi has to make every effort to make the online hailing industry a safe and trustworthy one, and we will also stick to ensuring safety and efficiency when expanding in international markets," Cheng said. "We still have a lot to improve in terms of safety assurance measures amid the complex transportation and traffic situation." 

President Liu Qing said it's also addressing the issue of drivers' commission and seeks to address the limited number of vehicles during peak hours.

Two female passengers were killed by their Didi Hitch drivers last year within three months, stirring a public outcry over the failing of Didi to protect passenger safety and loopholes in its customer service and emergency incident mechanisms.

Didi has since suspended its Hitch service and rectified its safety procedures by setting up a direct link between passenger's apps and the police emergency call center.

Local tech media 36Kr reported earlier this week that Didi has recorded a net loss of 10.9 billion yuan(US$1.61 billion)in 2018 and has subsidized a total of 11.3 billion yuan for drivers. Didi refused to comment on the figures. 

Meanwhile, local traffic authorities are also requiring Didi register vehicle and rider information to ensure they have proper business licenses to offer ride-hailing.

Didi said the lack of drivers during the weeklong Chinese New Year has exacerbated the difficulty in booking a Didi ride. For every four out of ten times passengers hailed a vehicle through Didi they would fail to book a ride.

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