Ride-hailing giant DiDi applies China's pandemic experience to upgrade safety in Chile

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/6/3 10:51:30

Image provided by DiDi Chuxing on April 19, 2020 of people providing free sanitizing service to taxis registered on the DiDi platform in Parque O Higgins, in Santiago, capital of Chile. (Xinhua/Str)

Global ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing is applying the experience gleaned by its operations in China to provide safer rides in Chile amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We learned a lot from experience in China. I think those precedents give us an advantage," the company's general manager for Spanish-speaking South America, Simeng Wang, told Xinhua.

That experience has come in especially handy now that "we are complying with the government to help society, aiding those who most need to get around the city," said Wang, referring to essential workers, such as healthcare professionals, during the lockdown.

Even before the virus made its way to Chile, DiDi's regional operation had put together a team that included China-based colleagues with knowledge of the special measures used in Wuhan, China's COVID-19 epicenter, to offer safe rides to both users and drivers.

"From my perspective, China's example has helped greatly. When our operations in China faced the pandemic, there was no prior model to follow. But when it began in Chile, we already knew all about what worked and what didn't work in China," Wang said.

Based on that firsthand experience, the company launched DiDi Hero, which offers certified healthcare workers rides at half price.

Other essential workers and vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, also received promotions, with the company absorbing 100 percent of the cost of the initiative so drivers' earnings were not affected.

DiDi Delivery was another new service to supply those complying with stay-at-home orders with basic needs. The service also ended up helping small and medium-sized businesses connect with otherwise absent customers.

The company has been working closely with local authorities in Chile to make the most of the technological innovations it brought, including a facial recognition system to ensure drivers are using their face masks, which is to be implemented in two weeks.

DiDi is helping drivers acquire the personal protection items they need, including masks, hand sanitizers and visors. According to DiDi driver Hugo Oyarce, "the demand for DiDi is much higher than for other ride-hailing applications."

He added, he "appreciates" the company for "again arming us with the tools and encouraging us to take care of ourselves in a safer and more effective way, for ourselves as well as our passengers." 

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