Car hailing company must put customers' safety before profits
A man uses taxi-hailing app on his smartphone on a road in Guangzhou city, South China's Guangdong province, April 9, 2015. [Photo/IC]
A 27-YEAR-OLD DIDI CHUXING DRIVER in Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, has reportedly confessed to raping and murdering a 20-year-old woman who booked his car through the company's Hitch carpooling service. People's Daily comments:
Three months ago, an air stewardess was raped and murdered in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan province, by the driver of a car registered with Didi under his father's name.
The company has to shoulder some of the responsibility for these two young women's deaths, as the victims both reported to the company's customer services that they felt threatened by their drivers. In both cases, the company failed to help the women.
Didi cannot shirk its legal liability by simply saying that "it cannot timely respond to all the complaints of customers as it receives too many such calls every day", or by increasing the compensation it pays the victims' families, or by dismissing the senior management of its customer services department.
Didi has to come up with an effective way to guarantee its customers' safety.
That Didi handles hundreds of millions trips for its customers a year does not mean the two murders can be lightly dismissed. If Didi does not come up with a way to improve passenger safety, it will only be a matter of time before there is another tragedy.
After the murder of the 21-year-old flight attendant in May, the company said it would introduce a series of measures to improve safety, including limiting the hours during which carpool drivers can pick up passengers of the opposite sex, and testing an "escort mode" on its app, enabling passengers to share their routes and destinations with emergency contacts and extend facial recognition requirements to other services and redesign its emergency help function. Most of these are still to materialize.
The administrative departments must also accelerate the construction of an effective supervisory system over the Internet Plus industries that are beyond the border of a single industry. No matter what technology is developed and employed, personal safety should always be the bottom line.
The internet has spawned technological innovation and promoted economic growth－Didi, for example, was valued at $56 billion in a fundraising round last year－but that does not mean that profit comes before people.
(Source_title：Car hailing company must put customers' safety before profits)