Personal safety during on-demand rides is once again in the spotlight in China. This time, a passenger surnamed Gao says a driver of Shouqi, a state-backed luxury ride-hailing service, made her feel unsafe enough to bail from a moving vehicle in Hangzhou.
After suffering a fracture in her left arm as well as scrapes and abrasions over much of her body, Miss Gao took to Weibo to issue a statement about the incident. In mid-June, Gao hailed a ride using Shouqi, boarded the vehicle, and noticed the driver assessing her physical appearance. She said the driver tried to chat her up and did not follow the pre-planned route that was on their map. When Gao asked the driver why he took the car off course, the driver did not respond, according to her account. She asked him to stop, and again received no response, so she jumped out of the vehicle, Gao wrote. A passing car stopped and its driver offered assistance by calling the police and emergency medical services.
Gao said Shouqi refused to share any audio and video recordings from the ride, and that the company has not reimbursed her for medical expenses related to the incident after pledging to do so.
Gao’s recounting of the incident was posted online a day after Shouqi published its own version of the events. The company claims its driver deviated from the pre-planned route to utilize a newly opened road that wasn’t part of the navigation system’s map yet. Shouqi says Gao “suddenly jumped out of the car,” and that audio recordings from within the vehicle do not reflect any arguments between the driver and Gao. The passenger did not request the driver to stop the vehicle, according to the ride-hailing firm. Shouqi also claims that its driver checked on Gao’s injuries and contacted the police for assistance.
The police investigating the matter have not issued a public statement regarding the events.
Shouqi differentiates itself from companies like Didi by emphasizing its upscale and exclusive services, including rides for personnel representing the National Administration of State Secret Protection. In particular, Shouqi is often named as an official partner for transportation for major events, like the G20 summit in 2016, the China Open tennis tournament, and conferences that are attended by government officials.
The lack of reasonable passenger safety measures is a recurring problem in on-demand transportation in China. In February, a woman who was on a Lalamove van jumped through a vehicle window and died. In August 2018, Didi suspended its carpooling service, Hitch, after two women were assaulted and killed when they were in vehicles hailed through Didi’s app.
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