Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

Uber to roll out Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers in South Africa

A much-needed update because it is real out here…

Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

We have all experienced an Uber ride with that one strange driver who makes us feel unsafe. Uber has finally heeded our call for action against the unsupervised, risky trips we take.

The app’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, revealed that in about a few weeks, Uber drivers and riders will be able to access the Safety Toolkit.

Uber crimes in South Africa

We have all heard of stories from people we know about how they were almost attacked in an Uber. Most of the time, it’s females who are targeted.

Read – This is why you’re not supposed to call Uber a “taxi company”

Earlier this month, IOL News published a story about a woman in Durban was robbed of her belongings by an Uber driver.

Carla Coetzee, after booking a trip from King Shaka International Airport to her home in Durban North on the app, fell victim to a horrific robbery that may have scarred her for life.

“When I reached my home, I got out of the vehicle and had my handbag on my shoulder. The driver also got out the vehicle and he was just standing there, looking at me as I asked him to open the boot of the vehicle so that I could remove my luggage.

“He refused to open the boot and instead moved towards me. He pushed me and attempted to pull my handbag off my shoulder. I began screaming and ran towards my home,” she recalled.

This case exposed the app’s current safety regulations, which are not really safe at all. The app’s spokesperson, Samantha Allenberg, reacting to the news about Coetzee, explained how they got involved with the case.

“After every ride, riders and drivers are asked to rate each other and provide feedback. Our safety team reviews this information and investigates any issues. This incident was brought to our attention through this feedback loop,” she stated.

Read – Uber: Jail time and R100 000 fines proposed for law-breaking drivers in WC

At the moment, there is nothing a rider can do to protect him or herself from danger during an Uber trip. However, thanks to Khosrowshahi, all of that is about to change.

How does Uber’s new Safety Toolkit work?

The new safety features that are yet to be included in the upcoming update of the app is an effort from Uber to double down on safety. These are the upcoming features of the Safety Toolkit

Emergency button

With the push of a button in the app, riders — all features will be made available to drivers and delivery partners  for use too — will be able to connect directly to private emergency services and security response when needed through a third-party private security supplier.

Trusted contacts

Riders will be required to select five people — family or friends — as ‘trusted contacts’. With a single tap, riders who feel uncomfortable will be able to share their trip information which are easily customisable in their trip-sharing preferences.

Safety centre

This information hub will be available to riders at the touch of a button in the app. Riders will find contact details of Uber’s 24/7 response team, information on the driver and the car, trip GPS-tracking as well as their rating and feedback system.

Speed alerts

This will be a handy one for drivers. This feature will remind drivers to maintain the spped limit when actively transporting riders.