Happy drivers and affordability are the key to winning the rideshare market, according to the new entrant taking on Uber and Ola, launching in Auckland on November 2.
That's why DiDi (pronounced "deedee") is focusing heavily on drivers and a commitment that its Express service will undercut existing rideshare services by about 10 per cent, as well as passenger promotions.
DiDi services 10 billion passenger trips around the world per year with over 550 million users globally. New Zealand is joining Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Russia – with DiDi recording the highest number of global trips on the platform in a single day in August: over 50m.
Company spokesman Dan Jordan says the company estimates it has signed up about 80 per cent of Auckland's active rideshare drivers, most of whom already drive for Uber and Ola.
The attraction, Jordan says, is that "drivers will be able to keep a higher percentage of fares – and we are offering them industry-leading and world-leading service fees". That means drivers would take home up to 95 per cent of fares, depending on volume of business and their performance on the DiDi platform.
DiDi launched in Australia over two years ago and, while a Roy Morgan survey in February this year rated DiDi as third in the rideshare market, Jordan says since then DiDi has overtaken Ola to be in second place behind Uber.
"That's been our experience in Australia – we are in 28 cities there now, 21 of which we launched in 2020. We not only provide industry-leading service fees, but have also shown that affordability is not a compromise for quality. We would have launched in New Zealand earlier but obviously Covid-19 intervened.
"Now the pressure of lockdown in New Zealand is over, we think it is the right time. It has been tough for the rideshare industry in Australia during lockdown – and it still is in Melbourne – but we are starting to see pre-Covid level of rideshare usage in all states except Victoria."
Jordan says Aucklanders should download the DiDi app and sign up – and take advantage of pre-launch offers like: Signing up pre-launch will mean 50 per cent off every trip for the first four weeks of launch (capped at $20 per trip, four trips per day). Riders who sign up during the first four weeks of launch will receive 50 per cent off their first five trips (capped at $20 per trip).
New Zealanders will also receive $20 value in rideshare vouchers for every friend they successfully refer to the platform – while a drivers' referral programme has the potential to earn them up to $5000 for successfully referring 300 riders.
Safety is also a big focus for DiDi, with both rider and driver apps featuring a Safety Toolkit to maximise the safety of all DiDi users. It includes the ability to add trusted contacts, share trip itinerary information and an SOS button to contact emergency services from within the app.
DiDi also recently added 'TripCheck' to the toolkit to provide DiDi's riders and drivers with an additional layer of safety. Should TripCheck detect anything unusual during a trip through its algorithm, rider and driver will receive a real-time TripCheck notification, allowing them to swiftly activate the Safety Toolkit, the SOS Button, or contact DiDi.
Jordan says technology has been a big part of DiDi's growth in Australia. During lockdown, it produced an artificial-intelligence-driven DiDi Care service, which Jordan says "ensures a ride of a higher standard of hygiene, including car sanitisation and mask recognition technology for every Care driver".
DiDi also launched DiDi hero – A$2m dedicated service of drivers providing safer, reliable and sanitised rides for healthcare workers at the frontline of battling the virus – available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Geelong.
"We made over 400,000 face masks and 2000 partition screens available and thousands of sanitising units," says Jordan, "and will follow Government guidelines regarding masks and other anti-virus measures in New Zealand."
To download the DiDi app click here.