LOGAN TOWNSHIP, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Uber wants riders and drivers to feel safe, so it’s trying to be more transparent and improve the app.
The company released the results of a two year safety study in early December 2019.
According to the recent Uber Safety report, from 2017 to 2018, 0.1% of trips had a support request for a safety-related concern. The majority of those included complaints of harsh braking or a verbal argument.
With more than four million Uber trips every day in the US, more than 45 rides every second, those complaints account for more than 400,000 rides, and drivers reported assaults at roughly the same rate as riders.
Before working for Uber, drivers have to go through a background check. During 2017 and 2018, more than one million prospective drivers did not make it through Uber’s screening process.
Local driver Tom Palfey said although there are safety features in place for the drivers and riders, it’s harder for drivers to stay safe.
“A lot of people don’t put their picture in. A lot of people put some nickname that has nothing to do with them,” he said.
Because of that, Palfey said even if drivers ask for the passenger’s name, many times they have no way of verifying it’s the right person.
“Early on, there was a time I picked people up, let’s say two in the morning, and the only place was right there, and there were two people there. Well, I picked them up, and as I was driving away, I got a phone call, and it was the people I was supposed to pick up, and it wasn’t the people in the back of the car. How does that happen? I don’t know,” he said.
Local police Chief David Reese said it’s all about prevention for both the driver and the rider. Taking steps such as matching the license plate with the car you’re getting into and updating your profile with a current photo, can help keep both parties safe.
“These drivers are mostly people in your community that you may recognize from some other job so again in our community make sure that we are communicating with each other,” Reese said.
Uber also has an in-app emergency button that can connect riders and drivers to 911, and their location can be immediately shared with first responders.
Chief Reese also recommended riders share their location while in the Uber and let someone know when they’ve reached their destination.