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By OKOSUN DENNIS
Uber is known for helping people get a ride at the push of a button – everywhere and for everyone.
It started operation in 2009 with a view to resolving a simple problem – how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? With about eight years of its existence in over 475 cities in more than 75 countries spanning 6 continents including Nigeria, and with over two billion trips, the major problem Uber is grappling with greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in cities by getting more people into fewer cars.
However, with plethora of complaints from passengers and the sophistication of crime in society, it becomes necessary for users to know some safety tips before using the facility.
An interaction with the Samantha Allenberg, Communications Africa revealed the eight things to know before using Uber.
Know Your Ride: Riders should always take the time to review the safety features available to them in the app, remember Uber rides can only be requested through the Uber app, so users should never accept street hail solicitations from those claiming to be with Uber.
When riders are ready to request a ride, it is important for them to avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with their phone in their hand. Instead, it’s best for them to wait indoors until the app shows their driver has arrived.
Know Your Driver: When a driver accepts a rider’s request, the rider is able to see the driver’s first name, photo, license plate number, type of vehicle as well as the vehicle colour. You’ll be able to see this from within the app itself – on the map. The rider should always make sure that those match before they enter the vehicle and ensure they ask for the driver’s name when they open the door.
Sharing Trip Details: Uber’s technology has made it possible for all trips to be tracked using GPS. While en route the rider is able to monitor their own trip in the app as well as share their Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) with their loved ones. This will help friends and family keep track of where they are on the trip and they can do this without even downloading the Uber app!
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In-app Help: The tool is designed to help riders get a prompt response to their queries in the shortest time possible. The support system can be accessed by navigating to the “Help’’ section on the menu, which helps riders and driver-partners alike to communicate their concerns they might have during a trip and get an instant response.
Follow Intuition: When using Uber, the rider should be aware of their surroundings. If they feel like something is not right, they should trust their instincts and use their best judgement. Riders should be cautious when sharing any personal information and should always confirm that the driver-partner is in fact the one they saw on the app, and if they ever feel they’re in an emergency situation, they are advised to alert the local emergency services immediately.
Give Feedback: Riders should always give feedback on how their trip went. This helps improve the Uber experience for everyone, maintain a high quality service and provide accountability. Uber has a 24/7 global support team which reviews the feedback and follows up with appropriate action regarding reports of conduct that violates the Community Guidelines.
However, it was learnt that Uber has developed new technologies to ensure safety before, during, and after every ride which was not possible before.