Global ridesharing platform DiDi is pledging US$10 million ($12.9 million) to give free and discounted rides to essential workers travelling to vaccine hubs across Australia and its other international markets.
Announcing the Global Vaccination Support Fund, DiDi president Jean Liu said COVID-19 has changed everything and “we would like to be part of the solution”.
The ridesharing platform, which entered Australia in 2018 and is now active in 28 cities, will use the support fund to offer essential workers free and significantly discounted trips.
The discounts can be claimed through the DiDi app, whereby essential workers use their ID number from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in order to receive the fee reduction.
Speaking to SmartCompany, DiDi Australia spokesperson Dan Jordan confirms that DiDi does not yet know how much of the $12,910,000 will be spent in Australia.
“We’re still working through the exact allocation of the vaccination support relief fund, but of the 13 international markets that it will go to, we’ll make sure they will receive a good allocation, so we can make a difference,” Jordan says.
The vaccination support relief fund comes on top of US$10 million that was announced in March last year and was used to help support drivers who could not work due to testing positive for COVID-19 or needing to isolate.
Jordan says that particular fund is still ongoing.
DiDi has also written to the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care requesting that its drivers be prioritised in the rollout of the vaccine.
“We hope to be included ahead of those considered low-risk but not ahead of more at-risk workers,” Jordan says.
Ultimately, Jordan says these efforts to assist DiDi drivers throughout the pandemic are to show its respect to the important work that rideshare drivers do in Australia.
“We want to ensure that we support their efforts and do realise that they serve an important role in Australia and that they are the forefront of COVID-19,” Jordan says.
Rideshare groups have been under scrutiny in Australia due to the impacts of insecure employment on workers. There is currently a Senate inquiry into the gig economy and the contractor model it is built on.
DiDi charges its drivers a commission fee which Jordan says ranges from 5% to 20%.