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Uber is launching new safety features in India − but they should roll out everywhere

Uber has announced three new safety features that are set to be rolled out across India. But they should be made available everywhere.

Ride Check, verification codes and driver education are being introduced (via TechCrunch). At first glance, the safety measures look great and that’s left us wondering: why can’t we have them in the UK too?

Firstly, ‘Ride Check’ kicks into action if there is a long unexpected break in a journey. If Uber detects this situation it will call both the rider and the driver to check if everything is okay.

A recent report into Uber safety in the US revealed almost 6000 reports of sexual assault from Uber passengers during trips, during 2017 and 2018. This safety measure sounds like it is designed to address this awful issue, and it would serve a purpose everywhere Uber operates.

Secondly, another new feature will require passengers to provide a four-digit verification pin to show that they are in the right car. Indian competitor Ola has had a similar feature for years.

The third and final change is a partnership with the Manas Foundation. This will see drivers attend “gender sensitisation workshops”, in the hope that education will help make ride-hailing safer for women in India.

In December Uber announced that it would be appealing against Transport For London’s (TfL’s) decision to cancel its licence. Uber’s Jamie Heywood told the BBC: “We are appealing TfL’s decision. Safety is our top priority which is why we have robust systems and processes in place.

“We are committed to Londoners and are working closely with TfL to address their concerns and requests, as we have since 2017. When it comes to safety on our platform our work is never done and we will keep listening, learning and improving.”

Would the introduction of extra safety measures, like those being introduced in India, help Uber regain its licence? It certainly couldn’t hurt.

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