In order to ensure user safety, the US-based ride hailing platform Uber has been pilot testing a 24×7 on-trip helpline in Chandigarh since last two months, Economic Times reported citing unnamed company officials. According to the report, the setting up of security call centre will allow the users to call an Uber agent directly for any kind of security and safety related problems during an ongoing trip. Uber confirmed the development to MediaNama.
Through this measure which was introduced following user feedback, the company is now looking to meet the need for direct human intervention instead of a callback feature. It is also looking to offer more safety and security options to its users. Apart from this, the existing SOS feature will help the commuters connect with police in case of emergencies. Depending on the user response for this pilot, Uber will decide on whether to roll out the features in other cities. The timeline for the same is yet to be decided.
Similar safety features by Ola
In September 2018, Ola introduced a real-time customer ride monitoring system — ‘Guardian’. All ongoing trips are tracked by analysing ride indicators that include route deviations, and unexpected and midway stops. Safety triggers are created based on indicators and time of travel and these are attended to by Ola’s Safety Response Team. Once the data is analysed, the team connects with the customer to assess the situation and provide assistance as required. It is unclear if Ola contacts the local police and authorities for assistance.
Uber’s moves in India
In February 2018, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had said that India is currently one of the company’s “healthiest markets in terms of growth rates,” during his maiden visit to India. He had also mentioned that the Indian market will become one of the key to Uber’s position in the next 5-10 years. Later in August 2018, Khosrowshahi had once again reiterated his commitment to the Indian market and said that India is among the top three markets besides the US and Latin America.
Not only the users, the company has also been looking to increase its efforts to safeguard drivers. Uber had updated its community guidelines earlier this year. It now notifies some of its users who have been consistently rated poor by drivers over an unspecified but a prolonged period of time so as to compel riders to improve their behaviour and also hold them accountable. The company had also said that failing to improve their behaviour would cost them access to the Uber app permanently.
The company is now looking to further strengthen its position in India as its rival Ola continues to grow both in the domestic and foreign markets. Currently, the company is also focusing on India in terms of potential for the Uber Air market in the long run. Uber which is now operational in 40 Indian cities, had recently launched a four-passenger quadricycle, on UberXS exclusively in Bengaluru in partnership with Bajaj Qute.