Taxi service, Uber will introduce a new SOS feature, with the aim to improve safety for both taxi and delivery drivers
The service launched in South Africa in August 2013, and has not been entirely welcomed by some of its existing competition, particularly meter taxi industry, which has seen some incidents of violence over the last few years.
Through Uber’s partnership with Aura, a security services company, drivers will now be connected to the nearest security vehicle at the touch of a button, without having to go through the trouble of making a phone call.
According to the company’s Sub-Saharan Africa general manager, Alon Lits, this shows their commitment to the safety of their drivers.
“The new introduction of our technology builds on Uber’s philosophy, and has helped evolve security by offering smart technology that cuts out the middleman, enabling driver-partners to connect with the closest security or medical response partner at the touch of a button,” he said.
Along with those of rival service Taxify, the company’s partner-drivers have been victims of targeted violence. This has prompted Uber to introduce a number of security features in response.
“Hopefully we are close to seeing an end to the taxi intimidation,” Lits added.
“We need to see more arrests made, and that (the violence) is unacceptable. We call on law enforcement to ensure that arrests are made.”
The new feature also allows drivers to connect, in addition to private security, to the South African Police Services as well as other emergency services, should the situation demand.
According to Uber, the new security feature will be rolled out in phases, until eventually available to all drivers.