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In China, drunks can use app to summon a sober friend

UH-OH. YOU’VE HAD too many drinks. You’re too intoxicated to drive home. But you can’t take a taxi because you don’t want to abandon your car in the bar’s car park. What do you do?

Reach for your phone. A new category of app called Dai Jia (代駕) – literally “designated driver”- lets you summon help. Press a button and a sober person with a driving licence will appear and drive you home in your own car. Problem solved.

The scheme comes with built-in insurance from companies such as Ping An Insurance, which will cover the car during the journey home. (The sober driver brings a fold-away electric bike so he can get himself home.)

Designated driver services have been fast-growing in China, and the number of orders is said to have reached more than 200 million each year. That’s a lot of drunken drivers taken off the roads.

One of the best known is an app called Didi Designated Driving, but there are several options.

And the cost? Well, that depends on the distance driven, as with most car-related services. But since there is a surcharge for evening use, and almost all calls come at night, this function looks to be more profitable than most services for the companies offering it.

As with Uber or Didi taxi-style services, the user has the chance to grade the driver once the job is done.

If, that is, the passenger is still awake at the time.

Image at the top by Andrew Ruiz/ Unsplash

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