Uber set to ride a new normal with new safety features, product update

As Uber gears up to restart operations, its new rider and driver safety features are set to go live across the world, including India.

As India enters the fourth phase of its lockdown, different states across green, orange, and red zones are further easing restrictions, including opening up of cab services like Ola and Uber. 

In line with the opening up of restrictions, ride hailing giant Uber has announced a slew of safety features and measures for both riders and drivers. These safety features, added onto the app, have been put in place to help curb the further spread of the coronavirus. 

In a virtual press conference hosted by the company, Sachin Kansal, Senior Director of Product Management, Uber, San Francisco, added that the ride-hailing giant has been looking at different safety and health measures to ensure the safety of its drivers and the riders. 

In the conference, Sachin said,

“In the past few months, Uber has been doing its bit to help people in times of need. Apart from tying up with different ecommerce and grocery startups like Flipkart and Bigbasket for the delivery of essentials, Uber has also been ensuring that it continued to provide commute for healthcare workers and providers. It has also opened its services for emergency trips to hospitals and clinics. Now, with restrictions being eased, we are doing our bit to ensure that riders and drivers feel safe during an Uber ride.” 

Explaining how the new app would work on the driver’s side, Sachin added that there will be three prompts for the driver to ensure that he can take onboard a rider. The app also has a video that shows how a mask should be worn, and what are the different safety steps that need to be taken. 

The driver has to mandatorily wear a mask, only when they click on the option on the app that says, 'I am wearing a mask’ and takes a selfie as proof for the same, will they be allowed to accept a trip. The app also has the option of the driver saying that they will sanitise the vehicle before every trip. It also gives the driver to not take any trips if they display any of the COVID-19 symptoms. 

Only when these are accepted can the driver accept a ride. After getting a ride, the driver also has the option to prompt the rider to ensure that they are wearing a mask. No rider is allowed to take an Uber ride without a mask, and the driver has the liberty to now cancel a ride, if a rider isn’t wearing a mask. 

Explaining the different changes on the rider’s side of the app, Rebecca Payne, Senior Product Manager, Safety, Uber, San Francisco added, “Only those drivers who have a mask on and have all the measures checked will be shown to the rider. As soon as the app opens, the rider will be getting a prompt on COVID-19 health guidelines and tips that they need to keep in mind and follow before every ride.”

She added that the rider has to accept the different terms like — wearing a mask, sanitising their hands before a ride, sitting at the back seat, and handling their own luggage. 

The team added that they will be rolling out the different features of the app across the globe and in India starting from this evening. And the app rollout will span across the coming few months, as restrictions will further start easing out.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta