Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has relaunched its controversial Hitch service on a trial basis in another five cities, as the company continues to rehabilitate the carpooling app linked to the murders of two women last year.
The revamped service, which returned to the streets of Beijing, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanchang, and Foshan on Monday, features enhanced safety measures for female passengers, the Beijing Daily newspaper reported.
The new version of Hitch requires both drivers and passengers to register their ID cards and undergo further identification via facial recognition technology, according to the report. It also features a searchable list of people considered untrustworthy drivers and a government-backed system for vetting drivers’ background information.
Other new functions allow passengers to flag abnormal driving behaviors like unexplained parking and automatic sound recording for long-distance rides, the report said.
Rides in the trial cities are limited to less than 50 kilometers and may only take place between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Didi will not collect service fees during the trial period.
The company resumed the service in several Chinese cities last month following a lengthy nationwide suspension after two Hitch drivers murdered their female passengers in separate incidents last summer.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)