Uber launches UK safety centre

Ride-sharing firm Uber has today launched an in-app safety centre for customers in the UK, as well as 23 other European countries.

The safety features, which were launched in the US earlier this year, include tools for passengers to share trip details with friends and family members, and a way to quickly call up emergency services. When dialling 999 via the app, the screen will display a passenger’s real-time GPS location, as well as the make, model and licence plate of the car they are travelling in.

In the UK, there is also the option for users to use two-factor authentication for extra security, and information on drivers’ licence and DBS background checks. The app can also anonymise pick-up and drop-off addresses, meaning drivers’ trip logs will only show the general area a trip started and ended, not individual addresses. 

Uber has made a number of recent moves to address passenger safety. Earlier this year, Uber changed its US policy around sexual assault allegations. Previously, passengers that said they had been sexually assulted by drivers had to resolve their claims outside of court in arbitration. Changes made in May meant allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment could be filed in court. 

For Uber drivers and Uber Eat couriers, the updated app now includes speed limit warnings on the GPS map, and an insurance hub, with free AXA coverage for sickness, injury and maternity or paternity protections.

Uber has faced a number of strikes by workers in the past few months. Protests have been held outside the company’s offices in London, Nottingham and Birmingham – organised by The United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) – over pay and working conditions.

The company is currently fighting an Employment Appeals Tribunal ruling on the employment status of its drivers and couriers, which found they should be classed as workers with minimum wage rights. Uber’s appeal is due to be heard at the Supreme Court at the end of October.  

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