This incident has understandably raised questions about safety surrounding ridesharing services. Hitch, the service in question, is for carpoolers. It is aimed at riders and drivers who are heading in the same direction and want to share vehicles.
The driver wasn’t actually vetted with Didi Chuxing. Instead, he used his father’s driver account that had already been registered with the service. “The suspect borrowed his parent’s account to take orders, in violation of terms of our services,” the company said in a statement obtained by Reuters. Didi Chuxing has a facial recognition system that matches driver faces with the company’s records, but it was not triggered in this case.
This brings the ever-lingering questions about passenger safety and driver background checks for these kinds of services to the forefront once again. It’s incredibly important for services like Uber, Lyft and Didi Chuxing to perform extensive background checks on drivers to ensure their passengers’ safety. Back in 2017, Uber was fined $8.9 million for hiring drivers with criminal records. Since then, Uber has rolled out new passenger safety features, including annual background checks for its drivers around the world and an in-app connection to 911 emergency services that just takes one tap to use.