Uber in Africa has gone into overdrive to address concerns over safety of passengers and has, in a series of media releases in countries where the cab-hailing app service operates, given a wide range of recommendations.
It is understood that this comes as a result of observations and feedback received from in particular new countries of operation where the large-scale recruitment of drivers may have prompted such concerns, without giving any specific cases.
At least in Kenya, the initiative may also be aimed at several rival operations recently launched or about to launch, to show Uber users how serious the company takes the safety of their clients, putting others on notice that the market leader is not bending over to new competition but in turn strives to create additional loyalties between Uber, the drivers, and their clients.
Information received from Uber Africa reads in part like this:
Uberis committed to the safety of everyone that uses the app, riders and driver-partners alike. This is why Uber strives to constantly better its safety features and offer these safety features in-app, the world over. These features have been developed to ensure safety before, during, and after every ride and Uber urges riders to make use of these for their own security.
Know your driver
The Uber app provides riders with the details of their driver-partner as soon as a rider accepts a trip. Riders need to use this information to verify their driver-partner is indeed the same driver-partner that accepted their request via the app. Riders should check the driver’s name and photo, vehicle type and license plate number. This feature ensures riders get in the correct vehicle with the correct driver-partner.
Track the trip
Riders should make use of Uber’s GPS features that allows them to track a trip by viewing the route on the map in the app. From the minute a ride is requested, the rider is able to track the vehicle on the way to pick them up. In addition to ensuring one gets into the correct vehicle, the GPS features allow riders to know exactly where they are headed and that they’re on the right track. Uber also uses GPS to keep a record of where a driver-partner goes during the ride, meaning Uber can verify that the most efficient routes are being used. Uber also recently introduced a new feature called Family Profiles which allows up to 10 riders to safely and easily share one card as a payment method.
Share your ETA
As an additional security feature, riders are encouraged to share their ETA (estimated time of arrival) and location with a friend or loved one. This is easily done via the app and can be shared with anyone – without the friend or family member ever needing to download the Uber app themselves. Using this feature means a rider can share their destination and route for peace of mind. Friends or family will receive a link where they can see in real time, the name and photo of the driver-partner, their vehicle, and where are on the map the rider is, until they’ve arrived at their destination.
Uber offers 24/7 support. Uber’s customer support staff are ready to assist with queries, whether it be an inefficient route or a traffic accident. Riders can contact the support team at any time of the day, on any day of the week.
Riders and driver-partners rate each other after each and every trip. This allows riders to see their driver-partners current rating prior to getting into the vehicle, and allows Uber to query any negative feedback. This feedback helps driver-partners keep standards high and helps Uber address any concerns.
Uber provides the below top safety tips for riders to make sure their trips are as secure as possible:
• Verify your driver-partner and vehicle before getting into the car, using the in-app information.
• Share your ETA and location with a friend or family member.
• Charge your phone – having a charged phone ensures you can see your driver’s details and track your trip while on the ride. If you know your cell phone is likely to die on the trip, Uber recommends you use a friend or family member’s phone to login to your Uber account to get your driver’s information and then share your ETA with a friend
of loved one.
• Don’t unnecessarily share your details, Uber has implemented an anonymous contact system to ensure riders and driver-partners don’t need to share their personal information. Riders and drivers can contact each other at any time through the app.
• Always provide detailed feedback after your trip to keep Uber updated.