CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is making sure his first year at Uber is marked with this certainty: Uber =’s Safety
He announced this past Wednesday some of Uber’s new safety features, including Ride Check, a GPS- powered tool that uses smartphone’s sensors to detect an unexpected stop or an impact during a crash. This means that if a crash happened or is suspected while riding in an Uber, both the rider and driver’s phones will be notified with a prompt to either: order another paid ride or call 9-11. The 9-11 feature was only accessible for riders at the beginning of the year, but now it’s available for the driver’s, too.
Also, Uber is incorporating a “hands free” feature for drivers so they can accept trips via voice commands. In addition, a driver’s exact pick-up and drop-off trip history will be removed, along with trip receipts to protect rider privacy.
These announcements come as an reassurance to the public that Uber is listening to rider complaints and that they are and have made swift efforts to improve their services. Just this past April, CNN released an investigation that found at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. accused of sexual assault or abuse on a passenger within the past four years. Uber announced shortly after the investigation that it will no longer force riders with sexual harassment or assault claims into arbitration.
Mike Mayer, who manages the Facebook group for Houston Uber driver’s, says that drivers are now being encouraged more than ever to have dash cam’s installed in their vehicles. “We’ve had instances where passengers have complained of sexual or verbal harassment and demanded their money back or threatened to file a lawsuit. In a lot of cases, when we reverted back to the dash cam footage following these claims, we discovered a good number of passengers were lying, therefore, making a false accusations towards the driver. This extra feature helps ensure safety for both the driver and passenger and ultimately helps reveal truths.”
Uber says that it will begin publishing a “safety transparency report” to publicly bring awareness to how many sexual assaults and other incidences have occurred on its platform.
The new features are set to roll out in the coming months. An although a lot of ground work has already been laid, Khosrowshahi claims “ this is the beginning of our journey.”