PIN Codes are Uber's Latest Attempt to Convince Us Our Driver isn't a Murderer

By Gavin Whenman on at

Beleaguered, cash-torching ride-hailing firm Uber has unveiled its latest probably-not-good-enough wheeze designed to shed its terrible reputation for passenger safety.

From this week, riders in the US and Canada will have the option of supplying a PIN code to their driver to verify they're getting in to the right car. The trip won't officially start until the driver enters the four-digit code and users can choose to enable the feature for all trips or just for those taken at night (9pm-6am). Until now, PIN verification had been available as part of a seven-city pilot that started last month and the company first announced the feature back in September, so they're hardly displaying much urgency in rolling out their latest safety band aid.

Uber obviously aren't saying this, but the new feature is likely a response to the murder of Samantha Josephson, a South Carolina student who entered the wrong car after hailing an Uber. Given the app already gives riders the model and licence plate number of their car and a photo of their driver, it's not clear how much this entirely voluntary feature will help, as presumably only those who are already wary will enable it.

PIN verification is only available in North America, so it won't help Uber in its legal troubles with Transport for London, which is still threatening to ban the company from the capital's streets due to the firm's abysmal safety and security record, nor will it do much to assuage the concerns of Manchester councillors, who called Uber executives in for an emergency meeting late last year, nor stop Uber from setting fire to literally billions of pounds of cash every single quarter. Frankly, on this side of the pond, Bolt might be a better option. [Engadget]