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Didi is relaunching its Hitch ride-share service

The free service is back with all-new safety regulations

Photograph: courtesy Didi Chuxing
Didi's Hitch service could be coming back to Shanghai. The peer-to-peer ride-sharing service will be back from Wednesday 20 as a trial, relaunching in seven major cities – Beijing, Changzhou, Harbin, Shenyang, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan and Nantong, according to SHINE. Users can hitch rides for distances up to 50km in downtown areas of the cities. Originally, the plan was to allow passengers access to the service from 5pm to 8pm for females and up to 11pm for males, but due to setbacks by users regarding the differential treatment, Didi adjusted the time to 8pm for all users, according to TechNode.

Hitch is a service by Didi that allows passengers to hitchhike for free with drivers going in the same direction, thus encouraging carpooling. While Didi does not monetise Hitch, it allows the company to attract drivers and passengers to its platform. The service was previously suspended indefinitely due to the murder of two female passengers by their Didi drivers last year.

Fortunately, the relaunch will be paired with other new safety regulations such as having all Hitch drivers pass a mandatory police check and barring anyone with a low social credit score. In addition, ratings by passengers and drivers will be anonymous and drivers who receive too many poor ratings will be dropped.

Didi's upgraded system includes a new Safety Assistant featuring 24-hour online help from safety specialists, gender anonymity for passengers, facial recognition to confirm driver identity, a behaviour score system for rating drivers, free insurance covering up to 1.2 million RMB per person each ride and more, according to Didi.

With the upcoming trial, the Hitch service could hopefully come back in full swing, giving us one more option to save time and money.

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