Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing said Wednesday that drivers for its car-pooling service Hitch will be allowed to pick up only passengers of the same gender during certain hours of the day, Reuters reported. The move comes as the company works to rebuild its image after a female passenger was murdered last month.
The 21-year-old passenger was allegedly killed by a driver who may have improperly accessed his father's account. Didi then redesigned the platform, limiting service hours to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. When the new policy on same-sex rides goes into effect on June 15, Didi will expand service hours from 5 a.m. to midnight, according to Reuters.
Between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., and between 10 p.m. and midnight, car-pooling service drivers will reportedly be allowed to pick up only passengers of the same sex.
Didi also said it plans on testing an "escort mode" on its app beginning June 22, according to Reuters. The feature will reportedly let passengers share their routes with emergency contacts.
A representative for Didi said the company is gathering feedback from riders, drivers and other members of the public in China on possible additional safety initiatives.
"The use of same-sex drivers during certain hours on the Hitch social carpooling service is one of a few experiments Didi is testing and further exploring with users," the representative said. "We want to ensure the Hitch service is brought back in a safe and responsible way and that users understand the challenges involved."
Didi Chuxing is the most popular ride-hailing app in China, and took over Uber's Chinese operations last year. Last month, the company received a permit to . In April, it also entered the market in Mexico.
First punished June 13 at 12:52 p.m. PT
Update, 3:32 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Didi.