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Amidst growing criticism regarding Uber‘s shortcomings on passenger safety, the ride-hailing app has unveiled new features to make its service safer for both riders and drivers.
Earlier this week, Washington Post reported some critical issues concerning Uber’s “Special Investigations Unit” (SIU) that puts Uber over the passenger’s safety. For your information SIU team in Uber handles some of the worst incidents reported by passengers.
However, this doesn’t end here! Back in March, a 21-year-old South Carolina college student Samantha Josephson was murdered after she got into a car she mistakenly believed was the Uber she ordered.
After numerous reports of kidnappings, deaths, and sexual assaults, the company has unveiled a slew of safety features. They are
Verify Your Ride: With this feature, riders will receive a unique four-digit PIN to provide to the driver verbally, to make sure you get in the right car. The driver will be able to start your trip, once the correct PIN has been entered. The company is also working on ultrasonic wave technology that automatically verifies you’re in the right car.
Text to 911: Last year, the company added an ‘Emergency button’ in the app to directly connect to 911. Now, Uber has added an in-app texting feature to 911 that will draft a text message including trip details like the car’s make and model, license plate, and location.
Real-time ID check: Back in 2016, the company announced a Real-Time ID Check that ensures the driver matches the account in our system. The company is enhancing it by prompting the driver to perform a random series of basic movements like blinking, smiling, and turning their head to add another layer of security.
Report Safety Incident: With this feature, riders can report any concerns during their trip. It’s worth mentioning that, currently, users have to wait until their ride’s complete before they can file a complaint.
According to the company, all these above features are expected to roll out to riders and drivers over the next six months.
Even though Uber has become the go-to rideshare for quick and easy transportation, many are opting for other ways to get around, due to all the bad reputation it has garnered over in recent times.
If you are in London and looking out for alternatives to Uber, here are six different ride shares you can try out.
HQ: Tallinn Estonia
Founders: Markus Villig, Martin Villig, Oliver Leisalu
Previously called as Taxify, Bolt made it’s debut in London back in 2017. Unfortunately, the service was halted a few days after by TfL for failing to acquire the right licensing. Earlier this year, the company launched in London as Bolt in a bid to challenge Uber dominance. During the launch, the company has promised low prices for users and higher pay for drivers to challenge.
This Estonian startup is focussed on Europe instead of expanding in the US. Last month, the Bolt launched a food delivery service, dubbed as – Bolt Food in Tallinn. Foods can be ordered through the brand new Bolt Food app (Android| iOS).
HQ: London, United Kingdom
Founders: Phil Makinson
Unlike Uber or Bolt, this web/app platform helps users to compare prices and book London’s best minicabs. Available on both Android and iOS, Kabbiee is specialised in airport rides and promises riders up to 28 percent cheaper than Uber. This platform uses its proprietary 30-point Accreditation Scheme to handpick 60 of the best minicab fleets in town.
HQ: Levallois-Perret, Ile-de-France, France
Founders: Omar Benmoussa, Othmane Bouhlal, Yannick Hascoet
Backed by auto-giants Daimler and BMW, Kapten was launched in London in May this year. As per the company claims, its rides are 20 percent cheaper than its competitors. In France, Kapten is one of the leading ride-sharing players in the country with 2 million users. The French startup aims to operate in 15 cities by 2020. At present, Kapten has around 16,000 drivers in London, compared to Uber’s 40,000.
The minimum price is €6, where the company will compensate in pricing by paying drivers an equivalent of €8 per ride. Notably, the company takes a 20% cut on every trip and aims to generate more revenue with €6 per ride.
HQ: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Co-founder: Oren Shoval
ViaVan is a product of a joint venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans, providing on-demand shared transit services in Europe. Launched in London back in April, this company works closely with cities and public transit operators.
Notably, the ViaVan has provided more than 7 million rides in London. In other words, it has saved 3 million vehicle kilometers by pooling multiple passengers into shared vehicles, resulting in more than 600,000 kilograms of CO2 saved.
The company has also won a highly competitive tender to collaborate with TfL in launching London’s first demand-responsive bus pilot in the borough of Sutton, a project which is directly in line with the city’s vision for the future of transport.
HQ: London, United Kingdom
Founders: Anton Chirkunov, Pavel Bocharov
Launched in 2010, Wheely is a luxury ride-hailing service, allowing customers to book chauffeur-driven journeys both on-demand and pre-booked through an app. The company is launching the service in Paris this week. It also allows to request executive journeys both on-demand or in advance. The company has roughly 2,500 drivers internationally.
Pronounced as Zooks, Xoox pulls out the list of available taxis and private hires in London. Similar to Kabbee, users can compare the prices, car size, and even emissions output, before booking a ride in the app. With this app, drivers can set their prices and travel beyond boundaries if they choose too.
HQ: London, United Kingdom
This London-only ‘work-focused’ app is wholly owned and run by the drivers themselves. The Taxiapp allows passengers to book and pay for a black cab like they would through Uber. Rather than a fixed price, the fare is always decided by the meter.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.