Security is a big issue when you’re using a cab rather than your own vehicle. Through various incidents and accidents, the cab sharing service Uber seems to be learning that unless people feel safe using its service, it cannot grow beyond a particular point.
Recently an Uber cab driver went berserk and shot down multiple passengers in Kalamazoo. There have been many incidents of crime involving Uber cab drivers, including the infamous rape of an executive by an Uber cab driver in India following which the service was banned for some time in Delhi.
In the wake of the mass shooting in Kalamazoo the cab company has initiated an emergency hotline in 22 US cities — they had started this emergency hotline much before the Kalamazoo shooting. It’s Uber’s own 911 service available on the number (800-353-8237) that escalates the critical cases through to the actual 911 service.
The problem with this hotline feature is that it was not easily available to customers when they tried to contact the company during the mass shooting, as reported on this Inc link. Considering Uber is a big, multinational company employing thousands of drivers the safety of the passengers should be taken very seriously and along with other features that allow prospective passengers to contact the service, the panic buttons and the relevant contact numbers should also be available on the home screen itself. In fact, the panic button should be the biggest button on the Uber app interface.
Why isn’t the hotline number easily available or discoverable? The people at Uber is doing some A/B testing and they want to see if the numbers can be found easily or not. This is absurd. When it comes to people’s safety, one shouldn’t waste time testing out A/B results. If you’ve had an uber accident, you should consider contacting the police and a lawyer.
In India, after the rape incident Uber introduced a panic button that not only phones the local police but also alerts them of the danger and the location of the vehicle.