|CHONGQING/WUHAN/SHENZHEN, Aug. 29, 2018 -- Local authorities across China have ordered branches of ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing to ensure the safety of its services after a female passenger was killed last week.
Traffic authorities in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality have ordered Didi's Chongqing office to obtain a certification for its ride-hailing services within a specified time, and share operation data with administrative departments.
Since entering Chongqing in 2014, Didi has failed to obtain its certificate for lawful operation in the city. In addition, the company did not make its data available to the government despite multiple requests from the city's transportation security administration.
Authorities also ordered Didi to remove unqualified vehicles and drivers as well as build a responsive complaints platform to ensure customers' safety.
Didi's Chongqing office said it would report to the headquarters and rectify its problems in a timely manner.
Traffic authorities in central China's Wuhan also inspected nine ride-hailing platforms including Didi on Monday, ordering them to thoroughly inspect their vehicles and drivers, as well as provide accurate and real-time operation data to the city's supervision department.
Authorities in south China's Shenzhen said nearly 5,000 drivers and 2,000 vehicles registered with Didi were not qualified and ordered the company to address the problem to ensure passenger safety.
The city's transport and communications committee has punished eight ride-hailing platforms and fined about 27 million yuan (3.9 million U.S. dollars) since the beginning of 2018.
The Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Public Security, and authorities in Beijing and Tianjin summoned Didi executives for meetings on Sunday, demanding a "comprehensive rectification" on its hitch riding service.
A 20-year-old woman went missing on Friday afternoon after hailing a car from Didi in the city of Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. The driver was caught by police on Saturday and confessed to rape and murder.
The incident came after a 21-year-old female flight attendant using Didi was murdered by her hitch driver in the central China city of Zhengzhou in May.
Didi started out in 2012 as a small company, operating a mobile app to help people hail taxis on the crowded roads of China's large cities.
Over the years it has become the country's largest ride-hailing firm with services including private car ride sharing, chauffeur services, and car rentals.
The company has suspended its hitch riding service nationwide since Monday, and two senior executives have been removed from their posts.
Didi said the suspect had no criminal record, had provided authentic documentation and passed a facial recognition test before starting work.
However, it also said it failed to act on a complaint made against the driver on Thursday by a passenger who alleged the driver took her to a remote place and followed her after she got out of the car.
Han Zhipeng, a Guangzhou-based commentator, said that vicious incidents occurring one after another is by no means an accident, it shows the company has ignored passenger safety and social responsibility.
In terms of passenger safety, the self-discipline and self-inspection of car-hailing firms are far from sufficient, said Ou Wei'an, a law professor at Guangzhou University.
Ou added that related government departments should strengthen supervision and punishment on car-hailing services in the future.