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Uber announce latest steps to “IMPROVE THE SAFETY” of everyone using the app in the UK

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Ride-hailing firm Uber have announced the latest steps it is taking to improve what they believe will be safer travel for everyone using their app to book private hire vehicles around the UK.

The global app from Silicon Valley commissioned a YouGov poll of more than 2,000 women asking them about their feelings on safety within ride-hail services.

According to the poll, 72% of women feel their safety is protected when they're using an app whose journey details can be shared with friends and family. 70% said they feel more safe when they're in a vehicle whose whereabouts can be tracked using an app.

Uber have put together a new report, titled "Driving Safety Forward", which highlights some of the main areas the company is looking to improve on, by either looking at ways modern technology can help or by working alongside local authorities to help improve enforcement.

Uber announced on 2 December, that it was teaming up with Home Safe, an organisation that offers free vouchers to Londoners who need help getting home. The initial phase will see 1,000 codes worth £10 each become available to anyone who contacts the organisation to use.

A new safety measure put in place by the ride-hailing app, is a feature where new technology will detect unusual patterns within a journey and trigger interaction between the app and either the passenger or driver to confirm everything is ok.

The technology will detect things such as unusual routes being driven for any particular journey, prolonged stops or if a trip finishes in a different location to the destination.

Uber has said that it aims to be the "safest and most trusted transportation platform in the world", but said despite this they will always have to contend with challenges and "bad actors".

Claiming to communicate and proactively push for higher standards with local authorities, the firm say their licensing conditions in London provide a "gold standard in transparency and reporting".

As part of their newly released report, the company has put together a "Call to Action" list which they believe should be implemented across the private hire, and in some cases, the taxi sector, to improve safety for passengers.

Uber say they support:

  • Setting national minimum standards for the Taxi & Private Hire sector

  • The introduction of national enforcement powers

  • The creation of a national database of private hire drivers

  • And the insurance of transparent decision-making by regulators.

Uber have faced challenges in and out of court for a number of years now, not just in the UK, but around the world.

A recent Supreme Court ruling meant that drivers working on the Uber app could no longer be deemed "independent contractors" and instead, were to be considered workers who were entitled to the same rights as any employed worker such as a guaranteed minimum wage and holiday and sick pay.

Uber has since come out and pushed for the same ruling to apply to all private hire operators within the UK, stating that if such laws are put in place to improve the industry then it should be across the board and not just pushed on one particular company.

The company has said it also welcomes a new Bill being discussed in parliament which was introduced by MP Peter Gibson; the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Private Members' Bill.

The Bill pushes for improved standards across the taxi and private hire industry for everyone. More information on that Bill can be found here.

As part of Uber's desire to see national minimum standards introduced, they have comprised a list of things they say should be implemented.

Uber would like to see:

  • Minimum requirements for operators on appropriate reporting of customer complaints to both licensing authorities and the police

  • A clear policy outlining which behaviours should result in revocation of licences for drivers and for operators

  • Mandatory education and training to cover safety-critical areas.

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe at Uber, said: "I truly believe that services like Uber have made the world safer and more accessible.

"We are constantly challenging ourselves to make our service safer. We will never stop innovating to improve safety for all so riders and drivers can move freely and connect to people and places that matter most to them, safely."

Bex Xiao, Head of Community Operations at Uber, said: "The safety of everyone who uses the Uber app is top priority, which is why we have bolstered the safety features available on the Uber app.

"We know that when it comes to safety, our work is never done, which is why we will keep listening, learning and innovating."


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