A Chinese online car-hailing platform called Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur apologized for safety issues after a woman in Hangzhou claimed she injured herself by jumping out of a moving car while attempting to escape a dangerous situation.
On June 12, a passenger surnamed Gao ejected herself from the vehicle and fractured her left arm after the 8-kilometer ride had started, claiming that the driver tried to strike up a conversation with her and changed the route set by the navigation app twice. The accident has stirred up tremendous online attention in China over recent days.
Following an investigation into the trip recording, local police said the driver indeed changed the pre-set route without Gao’s permission, which caused the rider to jump out of the vehicle in alarm. But police noted they found no evidence to support allegations of criminal behavior by the driver.
Local authorities will impose punishment on the driver and the platform for violation of regulations on taxi management.
According to the statement of Shouqi, the platform will enhance its security by tightening rules for driving routes to avoid passengers’ misunderstanding.
In the statement, Shouqi said it will ramp up training for drivers’ communication skills with passengers. The premium ride-hailing company will offer customers more reminders of safety features including ride-sharing and the “direct button” on cars that can summon police help when riders feel endangered.
In fact, Shouqi explained the accident in detail as early as June 19.
“The driver never told me anything about choosing an alternative route. He never made an emergency call after I jumped out of the car. Shouqi has never paid me medical expenses, nor has it offered me any recordings of the accident,” Gao expressed in a disproving response to Shouqi’s statement, published to her Weibo account on June 20.
As of this morning, Gao’s response has been shared more than 25,000 times and amassed more than 42,000 comments on Weibo. Although most commentators supported Gao, some netizens thought her worries were groundless.
“If she is murdered, people will say she is not vigilant enough. Now, she is vigilant, but people say she is paranoid. You just didn’t try to understand the fear of female passengers,” one commentator wrote on Weibo.
The safety of female passengers while using online ride-hailing applications has been discussed extenstively over recent years. In February, a young woman in Changsha, Hunan Province fatally jumped from a truck operated by Lalamove because the male driver repeatedly failed to follow the route recommended by Lalamove’s App.
Lalamove said that all safety improvement measures that the company promised earlier have been fully put into force, and more than 600 million yuan ($93 million) will be invested in safety throughout the next two years.