People have been critical of Uber for a great many things over the years, but one of the most concerning was the company's seemingly lax attitude to safety in the past. It's one of the things that led to Transport for London refusing to renew the company's operating licence. Things have changed since, which is good, and now Uber has announced a string of new safety features are coming to various European cities - including 40 locations in the UK.
A Safety Toolkit is rolling out now for passengers, drivers, and couriers, taking the form of a shield icon within the Uber app. Included is the 'Safety Centre', which is designed to be a hub of safety information - so you don't have to go hunting for things when you need them the most. It's here you'll find details about driver licensing, background checks, and GPS tracking, plus details on how to contact Uber's 24/7 helpline.
On top of this Uber is introducing trusted contacts, to share trip details with, as well as prompts to share the details of trips you're taking based on your ow pre-set parameters. That includes all trips, night trips, or no trips at all. the existing Share Trip features are also being featured more prominently, and you'll be able to share them with up to five trusted contacts with a single tap. There's also emergency assistance that will connect you with 999 (or whatever the local emergency service number is) from within the app, and lets you share your real-time location with the person on the other end of the phone. It will also offer up details of the car you;re in, including maker, model, and number plate.
On top of this Uber is finally launching two-step verification to better secure your account, and address anonymisation, so drivers can only go back and see a general area of where they've dropped off passengers - not their exact address. This is in addition to anonymising your name and phone number once the trip is over.
With the exception of address anonymisation, which seems to be passenger-only, all these features will also be available to drivers and Uber Eats couriers in their respective version of the app. Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Global Head of Safety Products, said:
“With more than 15 million trips on the Uber app every day, there is nothing more important than the safety of riders and drivers. Over the last year we’ve been working to develop innovative features that increase transparency, accountability and peace of mind for all users. The rollout of these new safety features across Europe is the next step in making sure that we’re helping everyone stay safe and connected, wherever you might be.”