Uber on Thursday announced the launch of its safety toolkit, a consolidated and comprehensive set of in-app features, for its customers in India. The safety toolkit was launched in the US in May this year.
Sachin Kansal, Director, Product Management, Uber said that the features have been added after having several conversations with riders in different parts of the world.
“The primary concern most riders had was accessibility to the different safety features. It was to bring in the convenience that the different features were introduced,” says Sachin, over a telephonic conversation.
While the app is similar to the one in the US, it has been customised for Indian needs and requirements. The idea is to improve both awareness and usage rates of some of the existing as well as newly introduced features.
“For Uber, India was the first market where we launched the emergency button, which will now be a part of a larger safety toolkit in the app, where the rider has access to all possible protective and preventive measures under one roof,” says Sachin.
Riders can access the safety toolkit on the home screen of the app from the moment the driver accepts the trip through to when the trip ends.
“We've updated our platform to prioritise awareness and sensitisation and make our safety features more accessible and easier to use. A key feature that we are introducing today as part of the safety toolkit is ‘Trusted Contacts’, which offers riders the option to automatically share all or select late night trips with their family and loved ones,” says Sachin.
The key features include :
- Safety Centre - The riders can find information and different safety tips, which have been built in partnership with law enforcement. The app also provides information and features for riders all in one place
- Trusted Contacts: “We realised that when it comes to the share ride feature, most riders would share their ride details continuously with a selected few people. Our new feature allows riders to designate up to five loved ones with whom they can be regularly prompted to share trip,” says Sachin. Riders can choose to modify the settings to share all trips, night-time trips only or none at all.
- Emergency Button: While an emergency button was pre-existing on Uber App in India, this new placement under the shield button in the safety toolkit umbrella will offer a quicker swipe feature for riders during an unwanted emergency.
These changes will build on the safety benefits that ridesharing already brings to cities, such as helping people avoid drunk driving, tracking every trip with GPS, interlinking with the safety apps of local police authorities where available, and 24/7 feedback and response from Uber's safety team.
The team has also introduced features on its shared mobility platform like real-time ID check, an emergency button, share status option, two-way ratings of both riders and drivers and much more, in its bid to harness technology toward providing safer commute options for its riders and drivers.
Over the years, Uber has partnered with different government bodies like the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, to promote road safety. It has also partnered with the Delhi and Kolkata police for safety initiatives and apps like SafetiPin to help preempt and prevent crimes involving passengers.