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Uber app adds safety feature to let you report a problem from the car

While the vast majority of Uber rides pass off without incident, there will always be a few where the rider is made to feel uncomfortable, or worse, through the actions of the driver.

Keen to reassure riders that it’s looking out for them, Uber has just released a new feature that lets you report a problem while a trip is in progress.

The Uber app already has a button that lets you quickly contact 911, but the new feature is specifically for non-emergency situations. Uber believes the new option will increase the likelihood of a rider reporting an issue, as some are too busy to do so once they exit the car.

How it works

You’ll now see a new “report safety incident” option in the app’s Safety Toolkit, which you can access by tapping on the blue shield icon.

To report an incident when a ride is in progress, select the option and tap out the reason for getting in touch. Uber’s safety team will contact you regarding the issue after the trip.

Writing about the new feature, Tracey Breeden, Uber’s head of women’s safety and gender-based violence programs, said: “Feedback has been a part of the Uber experience since the beginning. However, our research shows that riders may not consistently report experiences that make them feel uncomfortable due in part to being distracted after the trip.”

Breeden continues: “When you are meeting friends for dinner, going right into a business meeting or coming home to family, reporting something like harsh braking or inappropriate remarks may not be top of mind.”

She said that by offering an additional reporting channel, Uber aims to encourage riders to share feedback when appropriate, enabling the company to identify important issues that it can work on resolving.

Safety report

The new safety feature following the publication of Uber’s first-ever safety report at the end of last year that showed the ridesharing giant received reports of more than 3,000 alleged sexual assaults during trips made in the U.S. in 2018.

While one such incident is one too many, Uber was keen to point out that 99.9% of the 2.3 billion U.S. Uber trips occurring throughout 2017 and 2018 took place without any reported safety issues.

The report also pointed out that while it’s commonly assumed that drivers are the primary offenders in such cases, its data showed that “drivers report assaults at roughly the same rate as riders across the five most serious categories of sexual assault.”

Responding to the report, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that “some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.”

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