Didi halts late-night rides for a week

Didi will also roll out some safety functions, including adding a "safety center" to the Didi passenger app offering a one-click "Call Police" button and itinerary sharing.

Didi Chuxing announced yesterday that it will halt most late-night ride services for a week, starting from Saturday, as the ride-hailing operator launches a major software upgrade in a bid to step up security for passengers following two murder cases implicating Didi Hitch drivers in the past three months. 

The services for booking and hailing cars between 11pm and 5am will be suspended from Saturday until September 15. 

Didi also plans to increase its customer service personnel to 8,000 workers by the end of this year from the current 5,000. It said its current customer service team can hardly handle the daily 2.12 million customer calls. About 1.5 million of the complaints have to be handled by artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots while the staff deal with the remaining.

The ride-hailing giant will also roll out some safety functions, including adding a "safety center" to the Didi passenger app offering a one-click “Call Police” button and itinerary sharing. 

Didi will allow riders and drivers to link directly with the police call center in case of emergency. A trial operation of its on-route audio recording function on Express and Premier services will also be introduced. 

Its drivers will be required to go through a safety knowledge test every day from September 13, before they start picking up passengers through the platform.

"Didi Chuxing will do its utmost to strictly meet the bottom line of safety and effectively cooperate with regulators' oversight requests," the company said.

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