New DiDi ride-hailing service takes a front seat in SA vaccination drive

DiDi, the Chinese ride-hailing service that started operating in Gauteng at the start of September, will subsidise approximately R1.5 million worth of trips to help get the people of South Africa to and from vaccination sites in Gauteng, Cape Town and Gqueberha.

DiDi will launch a vaccination drive in three provinces on 27 September 2021, offering 36,000 vouchers. Eligible riders that are registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) and DiDi’s Vaccine application system will get a return voucher that will entitle the qualifying riders to a R40 discount on their trip (total value of R80) and will expire 30 days after receipt.

DiDi is committed to playing its part in helping South Africans get vaccinated against COVID-19. Carina Smith-Allin, DiDi’s Head of PR and Communications for Sub-Saharan Africa, explains that a lack of accessibility to vaccination sites should not be the reason preventing South Africans from getting vaccinated. “Committed to our goal of being much more than just another ride-hailing service, DiDi has taken the initiative to launch our own vaccination drive.”

The journey to herd immunity

The government of South Africa has set a target of vaccinating between 60% and 70% of the adult population by the end of 2021. This goal has been reiterated by the Health Ministry, led by Dr Joe Phaahla, in their latest briefing before Parliament.

As of 20 August 2021, all South African adults can register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This is a milestone in the country’s vaccination drive and journey to reaching the threshold required for herd immunity against COVID-19.

The latest available vaccination statistics reveal that as of 1 September 2021, approximately 24% of the 39,798,201 total adult population in the country has been vaccinated. While, only 5.91% of women and 4.60% of men aged between 18 and 34 have been vaccinated.

“Ensuring more young people, in particular, receive their vaccination is integral and boosts the country’s economic recovery, which is why DiDi has committed to help,” continues Smith-Allin.

How it will work

DiDi’s vaccination drive will launch across three provinces in South Africa on 27 September 2021. This includes Gauteng, Cape Town and Gqeberha. DiDi will offer 36,000 return trip vouchers to a value of R80, a total subsidy just shy of R1.5 million. The return vouchers will be offered to all eligible riders that are registered on the EVDS and DiDi’s Vaccine application system. There will be a separate product line for vaccination trips on the easy-to-use DiDi app interface. Riders will need to enter their vaccination appointment details to receive the return trip voucher, which will be valid for 30 days after registration.**

Committed to safety

As a leader in the mobility technology industry, safety is integral to DiDi’s high-level mobility experience. This includes innovations like driver facial recognition, SOS buttons for drivers and riders, anonymising driver and rider personal details and conducting thorough screenings. Coupled with DiDi’s stringent compliance with local government regulations, partnership with law enforcement and proactive community guidelines, this ensures user safety always comes first.

“It is important to note that DiDi continues to require its drivers and riders to wear a face mask and observe non-pharmaceutical health prevention measures even when vaccinated,” adds Smith-Allin.

Collective responsibility

DiDi South Africa is committed to understanding the nuances and intricacies of its newest markets. To achieve this, the company has established and fosters relationships with important stakeholders across various regions.

“The City of Johannesburg is regarded as the commercial and economic hub of the [Gauteng] province and the country, says Marcus Baliso, Director of Trade and Investment for the City of Johannesburg. “We welcome the investment by Didi Chuxing as it shows great faith in our economy while in the midst of a pandemic.”

“DiDi’s investment will certainly assist in addressing the challenges of unemployment, especially among the youth. We are continuing to improve our business environment and cementing partnerships with private sector partners to grow our economy.”

Smith-Allin adds, “In his 25 July 2021 address to the country, President Ramaphosa said that the coronavirus pandemic is the greatest threat to the lives and health of our people and the recovery and transformation of our economy. Accordingly, we need to continue to do everything in our means to contain the spread of the virus.”

“We have accepted the President’s clarion call and encourage South Africans to make use of DiDi’s vaccination drive. Together, we can help vaccinate even more South Africans,” she concludes.

** T’s and C’s apply (Available in app).

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