Uber SA gears up with new safety feature

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Uber has changed the world, allowing people to hail a ride at a click of a button. As Uber’s popularity constantly grows, it is now introducing a new safety feature.

This new feature will check-in if it detects any irregularities in your trip. This includes an unexpected stop which takes a bit longer than it should or an unusual variation of the intended route.

Aptly named RideCheck, the feature uses GPS data and sensors in drivers’ smartphones, to detect if anything is possibly going wrong during a trip. 

When RideCheck is initiated, both the passenger and the driver will receive a notification asking if everything is okay. A messaging tool which can be used to get help will also be sent to both parties. 

Uber can be notified through the app if everything is alright. Users can also use the emergency button if things turn sour.

Set to be phased in by next month, RideCheck is not only a feature to be used in times of an emergency. It reminds both the passengers and the drivers that they are being monitored. Uber is hoping it will motivate people to report any incidents which occur.

Since Uber’s arrival in South Africa in 2014, the app has introduced several safety features. Mostly due to Uber drivers and passengers facing continued intimidation. Especially from meter taxi drivers.

Uber’s country manager for South Africa, Nduduzo Nyanda, says they are using tech to make travelling safer. Which is exactly why RideCheck is being initiated and why Uber has a safety toolkit.

Within the toolkit, there is a mobile panic button which allows passengers to connect with the ICEplus Incident Management Centre. A consultant will assess the nature of the incident, after which third-party security officials or medical emergency specialists can be sent to the scene. 

Nyanda says this is an ideal example of how tech can make travel safer than ever before. Nyanda emphasises it also supports the company’s efforts to continue preventing incidents and help set the standard for safety while travelling.

Have you made use of Uber and what are your thoughts on the new safety feature? Do you feel the feature creates a sense of security? Share your thoughts and views with us in the comment section below.

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