Uber’s new Safety Toolkit designed to improve driver and passenger security represents a ‘step change’ for the ride-hailing app, according to Sachin Kansal, global head of safety product.
Speaking to media in Dubai, he said the measures which are being rolled out across the Middle East, Europe and Africa, will boost transparency, accountability and provide peace of mind.
But after a number of high-profile incidents, he acknowledged it has work to do. “We know we can get better and we need to improve,” said Kansal, who is an Uber driver with 105 trips to his name.
New features include an emergency button; trusted contacts, in which trip information can be shared with five friends or family members; safety centre, which provides access to Uber’s 24/7 team, GPS tracking, rating and feedback system; and speed alerts to remind drivers to drive within limits.
Another innovation allows riders and drivers to call each other on an anonymous number, while maintaining the privacy of their own numbers.
Drivers who reach 12 hours will also be told to take a six-hour break from the app and contacts can also locate their car, though route and drop off information will not be shared.
Uber is present in eight Middle East countries and 37 cities. More than 15 million trips are booked on Uber daily.
The company was reported last month to still been in talks to acquire regional rival Careem.