Uber forms partnership with security and medical response services
Uber South Africa have announced that they will be partnering with a number of security response services in an effort to improve their safety and security.
These new partnerships will see security and medical services dispatched in emergency situations in a reduced time.
The partnership involves an improvement to Uber’s current security number that is available to all drivers in the Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth areas. This security number links to a central control room, where now, a geo-specific security or a medical response partner can be dispatched within minutes.
Previously, Uber’s emergency number put drivers in touch with one dedicated security company that was less localised and didn’t include medical response. Geo-specific or suburb specific means help will get to the driver-partners quicker than before. Security officers or patrols won’t need to travel from a different area to attend to an emergency.
“In essence, we 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,” said David Myers, Head of Trust and Safety, Middle East and Africa at Uber.
From September to December last year, Uber implemented SOS buttons in Johannesburg – where 500 driver-partner vehicles were fitted with buttons. Once these buttons were triggered, it alerted Uber’s central control room.
“We learned a great deal from the pilot last year, most importantly, that the response time needed to be reduced.
“We are focusing on our security number operated by a central control room, and making use of multiple private security companies who are location specific to try and reduce the response time and get help to partners quicker than before,” added Myers.
Calls to the control room will now be recorded for possible use by authorities in investigations.
The improved security number and partnership agreement will be launched in Johannesburg and will reach Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth in March this year. All cities in which Uber South Africa operates will support the improved security number.