Didi aims to vaccinate entire Beijing fleet by Jan. 20
By Claudine Housen

Didi Chuxing, one of China's leading ride-hailing platforms, has set a January 20 deadline to complete the coronavirus vaccination of its entire Beijing fleet, a person with the company has said. 

"We have organized for all drivers in Beijing to receive COVID vaccines starting on January 13. The vaccination is expected to be completed within a week," a spokesperson in Didi's Global Communication Department told CGTN in an email.

"Drivers who haven't received the vaccines will need to provide a 7-day valid negative nucleic acid test certificate to be able to take orders on the platforms."

The move comes on the heels of recent reports that several of the company's drivers tested positive for the coronavirus and a subsequent fine of 1.07 million yuan (about $165,240) from the Beijing authorities was imposed for failing to adequately implement epidemic prevention and control measures.

Didi was fined for 96 safety violations. Meanwhile, its budget ride-hailing app Huaxiaozhu, or Flower Piggy, received a 340,000 yuan fine for 12 violations.

Beijing officials on Sunday issued extended measures for the ride-sharing sector, including requiring drivers to check their temperature at regular intervals, providing negative nucleic acid test certificates to work and getting the COVID-19 vaccination.

A screenshot of a pop-up in the Didi app, asking passengers to scan the health QR code when they enter the vehicles.

A screenshot of a pop-up in the Didi app, asking passengers to scan the health QR code when they enter the vehicles.

Safety upgrades and relaunched measures

According to Didi, the company has already begun taking action to meet the new requirements. On Monday, the ride-hailing service suspended its carpooling services and made it mandatory for passengers to scan a health QR code to use the service.

"We now require all passengers in Beijing to scan the health QR code mini program, which can be accessed via WeChat or Alipay, to use our ride-hailing services," the email said.

"Passengers will be shown the health QR code by the drivers before the ride starts. Drivers may refuse to service if the passengers refuse to scan the QR code or don't wear masks."

The company said in addition to ensuring that the drivers wear masks and the vehicles are disinfected, it would also monitor the drivers' health code via the platform and check to make sure they keep their masks on during the ride by way of an "in-vehicle safety monitoring device."

"The current rate of Beijing drivers wearing masks is 99.95 percent," the email said.

On Wednesday, Didi relaunched the use of plastic partitions in its fleet and opened 42 centers to install the screens free of charge. The plastic partition was first launched in February 2020 at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, and according to the ride-hailing platform, it is very effective in protecting passengers and drivers from virus transmission via droplets.

User response

So far, the response to the upgrades has been positive. Didi's post about reinstalling plastic partitions in its vehicles received positive comments on Weibo, and drivers interviewed by CGTN Digital said the upgrades are necessary for everyone's benefit.

"I have done the nucleic acid test three times already, once in my community and twice for Didi," one driver told CGTN. According to the drivers, Didi reimburses them for the nucleic acid tests.

"It is good for us and good for others," he said. "It is responsible."

(With translation by Chen Chen)

(Cover image by VCG)

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