Created In Partnership With Uber

PSA: This New Uber Feature Can Go A Long Way To Ensure Your Safety

Ridesharing apps have revolutionised the transport industry. Thanks to their accessibility and ease of use, ridesharing means that fewer people need cars in major cities, and they offer an alternative for people to get home safely. But because of its nature, it can sometimes put people in vulnerable situations.
Although drivers need a thorough background screening before they get on the road and despite multiple safety features embedded into apps such as Uber, there have been instances of people luring unwitting customers into fake rideshare vehicles, or people accidentally getting into the wrong car.
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Despite these being relatively uncommon, women and femme-presenting people can sometimes feel unsafe when using ridesharing services. In order to combat this, ridesharing app Uber has introduced a new feature to further enhance the safety of its customers. 

How Does It Work? 

Launching this week in Victoria — with the rest of the country to follow in the coming months — the safety innovation will use “ultrasound waves” to send a rider’s unique PIN to the matched driver’s mobile phone. 
This signal will be emitted once the rider is close to their driver’s car, to ensure that riders are getting into the correct vehicle. To make sure the feature works as designed, riders must opt into the technology, ensure they aren’t on a call or using headphones while being picked up and stand within two metres of the driver’s device so that the wireless PIN transmits. 
While a PIN is needed to start the ride, if for whatever reason the soundwaves are unable to transmit, a manual PIN code will be provided to the rider to share with the driver. 
This new technology will create peace of mind for both drivers and riders and add to Uber’s existing Safety Toolkit, which includes features such as Share My Ride (enabling family and friends to track your trip in real time) and an emergency assistance feature to connect riders with emergency services.
Dom Taylor, the General Manager of Uber Australia and New Zealand says, “This technology helps automatically ensure the rider is getting into the correct vehicle, giving peace of mind before a ride can begin. We strongly encourage riders to verify every ride. If the driver doesn’t match the photo or number plate, please report it to Uber right away so we can take action.”
After months of lockdown and with the festive summer season coming up, it can be easy to let safety slip to the back of your mind. And while victim-blaming and putting the onus on women (in particular) to stay safe is frustrating, it’s important to use the tools available to us to get home safely.  
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