Cape Town - Uber South Africa boosted the safety of drivers and travellers announcing its latest safety and security improvement – a new partnership with multiple security response services on Wednesday.
The company says the new partnership involves improvement to its current security number which is already available to all drivers in Johannesburg‚ Durban‚ Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Linking security number to a central control room with a geo-specific security or medical response partner that can be dispatched within minutes.
This follows the pilot of SOS buttons in Johannesburg from September to December of 2016, where 500 driver-partner vehicles were fitted with buttons, that when triggered alerted Uber’s central control room.
Head of Trust and Safety, Middle East and Africa at Uber, David Myers says last year's pilot deal was great lesson learned and most importantly the time response needed to be reduced.
"We are rather focussing on our security number operated by a central control room, and making use of multiple private security companies who are location specific to try reduce the response time and get help to partners quicker than before," he says.
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Previously, Uber’s emergency number put drivers in touch with a security company that was less localised and did not include medical response.
According to Myers they are connecting drivers with the closest security company in their area.
"Unfortunately driver-partners have expressed safety concerns, and we are committed to making them feel as safe as possible when using our app. This improvement is a step in the right direction, as we look towards implementing a more technological solution in the future,” says Myers.
The company says its calls to the control room will be recorded for possible use by authorities in investigations.
The improved security number and partnership agreement will be launching in Johannesburg and will reach Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth in the coming weeks.
By March 2017, all cities in which Uber South Africa operates will support the improved security number.
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