Uber just added a new tool for riders who find themselves in uncomfortable situations during a trip.
The ride-hailing giant launched “On-Trip Reporting” on Wednesday, which lets people discreetly alert the company about non-emergency safety incidents in real-time. For example, users can document behavior like reckless driving or inappropriate questions as a trip is in progress and send details to Uber’s safety team while it’s happening.
Previously, riders had to wait until a trip was complete to provide feedback on how it went. But this wasn’t always effective since people are often in a hurry to get to work, meetings or social gatherings and don’t have time to file a report immediately after they exit a car.
“People are on the move. On-Trip Reporting gives them an opportunity to report information while it’s right there on their mind, while they’re thinking about it in the moment,” said Tracey Breeden, global head of women’s safety and gender-based violence at Uber.
The incident reporting tool is located in the app’s Safety Toolkit. Someone from Uber’s safety team will follow up with both the passenger and the driver at some point after the ride has ended.
Drivers who are reported receive educational materials on how to properly conduct themselves during trips. The information in the report is anonymized so the driver won’t know which rider reported it.
And if the motorist shows a pattern of similar behavior over time, Uber will take additional action, Breeden, a former police officer, told U.S. TODAY.
“What we want the public to hear is that if it makes you feel uncomfortable, yes we want you to report it,” Breeden said. The tool will help Uber better address underreported troubles during trips. It will also help the company identify what types of problems occur and pinpoint exactly they happen.
Uber will use the data to develop other safety solutions for passengers.
Lots of things can go wrong when riding in an enclosed space with a stranger. In fact, there were at least nine incidents of murder and 58 people killed in crashes, according to Uber’s first study detailing incidents in 2019.
Hundreds of drivers and riders have come forward alleging sexual assault during trips, and several lawsuits have been lodged against the San Francisco-based firm by people saying they were raped or assaulted by drivers.
Uber’s rival Lyft has seen similar occurrences.
Still, these incidents are relatively rare compared to the millions of trips taken every day. Everyone who drives for Uber undergoes a background check before their first day on the job, and the company rescreens every year.
Lyft also routinely monitors its driver’s criminal and driving records.
Real-time incident reporting is the latest feature that aims to make Uber’s ride-hailing service safer for both riders and drivers who use its app.
The company previously launched RideCheck, which sends a push notification to drivers and riders when Uber’s GPS data indicates a potential crash or an unexpected long pause.
Uber has also integrated an in-app emergency button and other improvements to double down on safety.
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