HONOLULU (KHON2) — Uber has become a massive operation with drivers operating in 10,000 cities across 71 countries.

For a while, Uber was embattled with the Taxi industry as drivers began sopping up more and more of the usual taxi ride situations. This led to fewer and fewer driver incomes for those who bought into the taxi system in their cities.

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Then, there was the scare that led folks to believe that Uber ridesharing was much less safe for passengers.

In the wake of all of this, Uber has continued to grow and become more popular with drivers and passengers alike. So, Uber has announced that they are taking measures to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.

“We want every driver and courier to know that we are listening to their needs and taking action,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber.

To do this, Uber has launched a new app known as “Record my Ride”. It is a free in-app driver dashcam that will allow drivers to use their smartphones to record their trips.

Other additions to their initiative to protect drivers include “sweeping” changes to the Uber process used to decide if a driver or courier should lose access to the app and plans to expand the verification process for riders.

“We are improving the driver experience to help keep them safer on the road and give them a louder voice in deactivation decisions,” added Khosrowshahi. “From trip recording, more transparent deactivations, and expanded rider verification–we’re with them every mile of the way.”

As a means of making the deactivation process as fair as possible, Uber is implementing more accurate and transparent as possible for their drivers and couriers: 

  1. Providing a pathway to review an account deactivation decision: Our expanded in-app Review Center tells drivers and couriers why their account was deactivated, allows them to request an additional review of the decision, and gives them the opportunity to share any additional information like audio or video recordings. 
  2. Protecting drivers from false allegations and unfair ratings: It’s an unfortunate reality that some people report false issues with a driver with the aim of getting a refund from Uber. We have put new systems in place to detect this kind of behavior, and they will no longer impact driver ratings or account deactivation decisions. 
  3. Helping US drivers falsely accused of drug-impaired driving get back on the road: If a driver accused of driving under the influence of drugs wants to take a drug test to disprove the accusation, we now have a program to assist. Going forward, drivers whose accounts are at risk of permanent deactivation for drug-impaired driving will be provided the option to take a drug test through a nationwide partnership with LabCorp. Uber will cover the cost of the testing, whatever the outcome.

For the Verifying riders process that will be fully implemented in 2024, Uber said it will significantly expand the process verifying the identities of riders. This is meant to confirm each user’s account details against trusted data sources or an ID document.

“Over time, we will show drivers that they’re picking up a verified rider right on the offer card; so, they can have more peace of mind before accepting a trip request,” said a spokesperson for Uber.

This process will be in addition to Uber’s efforts to strengthen their rider verification process for those customers who use anonymous payment methods, which are often linked to fraud or malicious actions.

Local Uber driver Jacob Sbragia said he’s glad these measures are being implemented.

“For all of us drivers out there, this is a big deal,” revealed Sbragia. “You never know what’s going to happen; so, it’s good that we will have the capability of protecting ourselves from all sorts of events, threats or accusations.”

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So, that’s it in a nutshell. Uber is taking steps to secure the safety of drivers who choose to participate in their rideshare services.