Didi walks back ‘curfew’ for women riders after accusations of sexism

Didi Chuxing earlier this week announced it would resume its controversial carpooling service, Hitch, for the first time since taking it offline last year following the killings of two female passengers. In a bid to improve passenger safety, it said it would only let women book rides until 8:00 p.m., while men could use the platform until 11:00 p.m.

Following a huge backlash on Chinese social media, the company has backpedaled fast. Didi said on Friday that the earlier cutoff would now apply to all customers regardless of gender.

“We agree that the public trial service for Hitch should be available to all users on the same schedule and decided to set the service time between [5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.] for everybody,” the company said.

As of Friday morning, the hashtag “#WomenCan’tTakeDidiAfter8PM” was trending on Chinese social network Weibo, generating over a thousand posts on the Twitter-like service.

“Crazy,” one user wrote. “That’s total discrimination, and it says this is for the sake of females’ safety.”

“Men committed crimes, but they put a curfew on women instead of on men,” said another user.

Didi has been treading carefully since last year, when it was forced to suspend Hitch after two female riders were killed in four months.

The company spokesperson said Friday that its 8:00 p.m. cutoff for women was because its data showed that “sex-related complaints, predominantly from women users” are 45% higher between then and 11:00 p.m.

Feng Lai, a professor of public relations…

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