Tech Industry

China plans crackdown on ride-hailing companies after customer deaths

The move comes after two female passengers were allegedly killed by drivers for Didi Chuxing.

A driver using the Chinese ride-hailing app Didi.
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

China will inspect all ride-hailing services operating there, following the deaths of two passengers in recent months.

The Chinese transportation ministry on Friday said comprehensive inspections will start Sept. 5, according to Reuters. The crackdown comes after a driver from the dominant platform, Didi, allegedly killed a 20-year-old female passenger this month. Another female passenger was allegedly killed by a Didi driver in May. After the latest killing, Didi suspended its Hitch service

Ride-hailing companies worldwide have had to grapple with crimes committed by their drivers. In the US, Uber and Lyft have come under scrutiny over charges of sexual harassment and assaults.

Over the past four years, 103 Uber and 18 Lyft drivers have reportedly sexually assaulted passengers, in cases said to have involved actions including rape, forcible touching or kidnapping of passengers, according to a CNN investigation in May. Of that group, 31 Uber drivers have been convicted, and four Lyft drivers.

The companies have acknowledged the issue and said they're working to make their services safer.  

Didi said it welcomes the Ministry of Transportation's upcoming industry inspection, said a Didi spokesperson in an email statement. "We will fully cooperate with the authorities and carry out thorough safety reforms, and fulfill our responsibilities to provide safe ride-hailing experience for the people."

For other ride-hailing services in China, some have distanced themselves from Didi. 

"We don't have a [Didi-like] hitch ride service," a Meituan Dianping spokesperson said in an email statement. 

First published Aug. 31 at 10:32 a.m. PT.
Updates, 3:16 p.m. PT: Adds Didi spokesperson statement. 

Updates, September 4, 6:45 a.m. PT: Adds Meituan Dianping spokesperson statement.