A growing ride-sharing service hopes letting female drivers choose the sex of their passengers will make the business more popular.
Didi, an alternative to the likes of Uber, wants to encourage women to take up driving for the service by allowing them to restrict their services to other women, rejecting men who may need a ride.
The business says fewer than 5 per cent of ride share drivers in Australia are women.
Allowing female contractors to choose only to pick up women might make people more likely to sign up for the service.
Rival start-up Shebah started as an all-women Australian ridesharing service in 2017, recognising many women are worried about using ride-sharing services after dark.
A Mission Australia survey released in 2018 showed that nearly 47 per cent of young Australian women felt unsafe alone at night.
Michelle Leong, company spokeswoman, says DiDi’s “TripChoice” feature will eventually be open to female customers worried about jumping in a stranger’s car after dark.
“DiDi aims to eventually launch a women-only ridesharing product in key capital cities as part of the five-year plan, allowing women riders a choice to be picked up by a woman driver, and increasing opportunities for women seeking flexible engagements as drivers on the DiDi app,” she says.
“The five-year plan is instrumental in increasing the number of women drivers on the DiDi app, which will allow us to bring a women-only product line to life on a mass scale.”
More than half of women who drive for Didi only do so during the day, citing security concerns about male passengers at night.
Diana Balfour, a driver for the ride-sharing service, says the ability to choose female passengers is a “wonderful initiative”.