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Safety and mutual respect are key in ride sharing platforms

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Ankit Gupta

Uber recommitted to ensure safety for their driver partners by launching the Driver Safety Toolkit and updating the community guidelines. This follows the already existing safety toolkit for riders, and is yet another step by the global online ride sharing platform that continues to positively change urban mobility. Speaking of the latest additions was Ankit Gupta – Lead, Sri Lanka. Following are excerpts:

Q: What are the key features in the newly introduced Driver Safety Toolkit?

We have included three main features. The first of which is the ‘Share Trip’ option where drivers too can now share the trip details with their loved ones. This enables them to track where they are and how they are moving around on a live basis. Since we rolled out this feature we have seen a lot of positive response, especially from our female driver partners because they feel much safer and secure. 

The second feature is the ‘Emergency Button’. The driver is able to make a call from the Uber app to the emergency authority, namely 119, and get emergency support. While the feature already existed in the rider side of the app, we are happy to introduce it for the drivers as well. This is in addition to the 24x7 emergency response centre, which is the Uber centre. This centre calls back the rider or driver in case of an emergency and they are able to discuss the situation and try help them out in the best way possible. Therefore, the riders and drivers have both these options at present. 

We have also included the ‘Speed Limit’ option. This basically informs the driver of the speed limit and prompts them when they exceed it. As a result drivers can manage their driving in a safer way, within the given limit.


Q: How important is it for Uber to invest in safety features?

 Safety has been one of the key pillars for Uber globally and much time and study is invested in making Uber a much safer platform and increase safety across the board. We continuously try to see what challenges are faced from both sides and how we can mitigate it. All the safety features that Uber is rolling out are testaments to the fact of how we are investing in safety in the platform in the long run. 


Q: Is this feature available worldwide?

A: The safety features have been rolled out in multiple countries. For example, within the sub-continent India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have the features. They are also present in certain markets in the US making it available in a majority of countries that Uber operates in.


Q: You have announced an update in the Community Guidelines. What are community guidelines and what would the new update do?

 The Community Guidelines point out certain principles on what to do and what not to do. We have now extended it for the riders as well. The main reason for doing this is because as a platform we believe that respect goes both ways. If as a rider I have certain expectations, the same can be expected by the driver too, because they are sharing a part of their personal space, their vehicles, during the course of the trip. Through the Community Guidelines we hope to create a system where there is mutual respect between the two parties. This is a set of guidelines that they should follow while on trip or while using the platform to ensure that the experience is great on both sides.

As an extension, we have included certain types of behaviour that can lead to losing access to the Uber app. For example, at the end of each trip both the rider and driver can rate each other on a scale of 1-5. Through this system we are able to understand how they behave over a period of time. If there is a continuously low rating they can lose access to Uber because it means that they are exhibiting certain behaviour that goes against the Uber Community Guidelines, or creates a negative experience for the other person in question. The guidelines are available on the Uber website.


Q: What prompted the initiation of the Community Guidelines?

 The guidelines have existed in some form on the drivers’ side, about what is expected of them while they are driving on the Uber platform, because they spend a lot of time and effort in moving people around and there are certain expectations that riders have when using Uber. For us, extending the Community Guidelines for both drivers and riders is firmly based on the belief that there should be mutual respect. Therefore, if a driver partner is held accountable for certain kinds of behaviour, the same should be applied to the rider as well. This is what prompted the Community Guidelines – Uber can communicate to both sets of our customers on how best they can treat each other with respect and make a ride a pleasant experience.

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