espite dealing with numerous safety concerns, China’s leading ride-hailing company, Didi Chuxing, has decided to lower its minimum passenger age from 18 to 16.
Previously, teens aged 16 and 17 were unable to use the app alone. Now, they’ll be able to catch a ride without parental supervision after first designating an emergency contact.
The change is one that Didi said it would not make less than a year ago, but has evidently changed its mind in the interim. In February, the company conducted a poll on its WeChat account which found that the majority of respondents supported minors being able to hail a ride without an adult accompanying them.
Another later poll saw 80 percent support for changing the app’s minimum age restriction to 16.
While two female passengers were murdered last year by their Didi drivers, many see the service as still the best option for minors with places to be, arguing that they will be otherwise be pushed to more unsafe alternatives like black cabs.
“It was never our intention to push some independent minors toward the more dangerous gray areas just because our policy requires all minors to take cars with their parents,” the company said earlier this month.