In a bid to improve rider safety and mend its tainted image, ride-hailing company Uber has announced the launch of two new in-app features.
The new Status Send feature builds upon and replaces the ‘share my ETA’ feature on Uber’s app. The feature allows riders to share details about the driver and vehicle – live GPS tracking, driver photo, name and vehicle license number – with family and friends.
Riders will be able to share trip details with up to five pre-selected contacts with as little as two taps.
Here’s how to use the ‘Send Status feature:
- Setup pre-selected contacts – head to the settings menu within the Uber app, hit the emergency contacts tab, and add up to five contacts from your phone book.
- Request a ride – just as you always would
- Tap ‘Send Status’ – users can do this before their ride arrives or anytime during their journey. A users pre-selected list of contacts will receive a link to view the live trip status, and also have the option to add contacts to this list.
The SOS feature allows riders to contact local authorities in the case of an emergency. The button sits at the top right corner of the screen, and tapping it triggers a confirmation message which then automatically dials ‘100’
Both the new in-app safety features are available as off immediately for Android users in India, and will soon be available for iOS users. The inclusion of in-app features will go hand in hand with the re-verification of all Uber drivers with the help of the police as well as background screening firm First Advantage.
Uber hopes the enhanced safety measures will lead to local authorities lifting bans on its service (currently operating as a not-for-profit company) and allow it to operate under licence as a call-taxi operator. Moreover, the move is seen as a way to mend its image amongst the public which was outraged after the Uber Delhi rape case.