“We’ve heard this feedback loud and clear and we’re now acting on it.”
The technology giant Uber has released details of enhanced security processes for its UK taxi service designed to keep passengers and drivers safer. The tech updates to its app come following last year’s decision by Transport for London (TfL) to suspend its licence for poor corporate responsibility, particularly on safety.
Although launching “a number of new features and changes”, the Uber app’s most significant overhaul is being made to its reporting system. When the latest version is up and running “later this year” the company will itself proactively report serious incidents to police, adding to Uber’s current system that encourages drivers and passengers to report serious incidents themselves.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, backed TfL's decision last year to strip Uber of its licence to operate in the capital because it was found wanting in the area of passenger safety – a move heavily criticised by government ministers and customers for what they saw was an anti-business stance. It was reported around a month after September’s decision that Kahn was prepared to change his view but was firm he was “not willing to do is take risks with safety and security”.
Uber (@Uber) has said it has made the changes to its app-powered taxi service following feedback from drivers, riders, local regulators and the police. “We’ve heard this feedback loud and clear and we’re now acting on it,” said the company in a statement.
Commenting on the proactive reporting feature that will directly contact the police, the company said: “Under our new approach we will pass directly to the police information about any serious incident reported to us by riders. If a driver is a victim of a serious incident we will also report it to the police if the driver wants us to do so on their behalf.”
Already operational in London, the upgraded transport security reporting feature will be rolled out across the UK after Uber holds discussions with other police forces. The company is currently training the staff that will man the telephone-based support at its customer centre in Limerick, Ireland, before it is launched later in 2018.
In a bid to make the reporting process more straightforward for passengers, and presumably encourage more to report inappropriate and threatening behaviour, Uber will provide its customers with driver-specific information, such as licensing authority and private hire licence numbers, on electronic receipts and booking confirmations. Steps have also been taken to safeguard the drivers with the introduction of a feature that will enable them to share their locations with friends and family.
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