Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has suspended its Uber Pool-esque service Hitch nationwide, after a woman was raped and killed by a driver in Wenzhou.
The company said in a statement that the suspension was the result of "disappointing mistakes", while it takes time to reevaluate Hitch's business model.
A 20-year old woman only identified by police with the surname Zhao was the victim of a suspected murder on Friday, after getting into a Hitch carpool vehicle at around 1pm local time. She sent a message to a friend asking for help an hour later, before losing contact.
A Hitch driver named Zhong was detained at around 4am yesterday morning and confessed to raping and killing the passenger, according to a statement from local police. An investigation is ongoing.
Didi Chuxing's own statement released this morning said the suspect had no prior criminal record, and had provided authentic identity documentation and passed facial recognition tests before receiving his licence from the firm.
However, Didi had received a complaint against Zhong from another passenger who said he had driven them to a remote location before following the passenger after they got out of the car.
The company's statement said:
The incident shows the many deficiencies with our customer service processes, especially the failure to act swiftly on the previous passenger’s complaint and the cumbersome and rigid process of information sharing with the police.
China's official state news agency Xinhua said today that Didi should be punished if it fails to prioritise customer safety.
The ride-hailing firm said it had already increased safety measures for Hitch after a flight attendant was murdered during a ride in May.
According to Reuters, the steps included limiting Hitch drivers to only picking up passengers of the same sex during early morning and late evening hours.
Didi Chuxing merged its services with Uber's local Chinese branch in 2016.