Designated driver services booming in China


Zhao Yamin doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer, but her customers clearly do.

“When they see me they say ‘I got a female driver? I should buy a lottery ticket!'” she says.

The native of Anhui province in China’s south is one of the few female drivers in Beijing taking part in the booming business called daijia.

Drivers for hire ride mini-bikes and electric scooters around big cities to people drinking who need them to drive their car home.

“If people drive their own cars out to a restaurant, it gives them face,” Ms Zhao said, referring to the Chinese concept of reputation and respect.

“After they drink, they call us up and we drive them home.”

PHOTO: There are already more than 300,000 registered drivers in China’s daijia transport services. (ABC News: Brant Cumming)

Ms Zhao works for Didi — China’s largest ride-sharing transport company which last year swallowed up Uber’s Chinese business.

It’s not the only player in the fast-growing daijia space, but has already registered more than 300,000 drivers across the country.

Designated driver services aren’t just in China, but urban density and the relatively low cost is helping the concept take off.

Once the driver takes someone and their car home, either they ride their minibike to the next job, or hail a car themselves if it’s too far.

“Some people like to sleep in the car after drinking, others talk endlessly,” Ms Zhao said.

“They want opinions from us on their problems. It feels like we are good friends. It makes the journey to home shorter than it is.”

By Bill Birtles
ABC News


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