Uber rolled out a safety feature yesterday that’s both very necessary, and sure to cause a lot of controversy among drivers.
Setting the scene…
If you take ride shares with any frequency, you’ve probably been in a situation where you had safety concerns about the driver’s actions:
- Was the driver texting while driving?
- Was the driver running red lights or stop signs?
- Was the driver being aggressive or exhibiting road rage?
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in this situation, but I didn’t really know how to handle it:
- If it’s not that serious, I feel uncomfortable asking the driver to change their behavior; after all, I’m in their car
- In many situations I also feel bad giving them a bad rating (since their ability to continue using the platform relies on having a good rating), unless their driving was truly egregious
Fortunately Uber has now implemented a feature allowing you to tattletale on a driver without making it awkward.
Uber now lets you report safety concerns
For those in the US and Canada, Uber has just added something to their “Safety Toolkit,” allowing riders to report safety incidents during their rides.
Once you’re in the safety toolkit (which you can access by clicking on the blue shield symbol during a ride), click “Report Safety Issue,” and then you’ll be able to share the details of any safety concerns you have about a trip you took.
When you do this:
- The driver will only be contacted after the ride with the feedback
- A member of the safety team will contact the passenger
Presumably they aren’t going to fire a driver after one complaint, but this is a good way they can pick up on patterns, should a driver consistently get the same complaint.
This is great for passengers
Uber increasingly has a focus on safety, largely because it helps them with regulators when they’re having battles over their operating license in various cities.
As far as I’m concerned, this is no doubt a positive development. It allows you to share your concerns in a non-confrontational way.
Drivers are going to hate this
Many Uber drivers hate passengers. Now, I assume this isn’t actually a majority of drivers, but rather just those who hang out online and discuss Uber. Some drivers seem to essentially think that passengers are all cheap morons who will do anything for Uber credit.
For example, Twitter user @sergioaved writes how he already received one of these safety notices from Uber, and it went about as well as you’d expect.
Uber wrote to him:
We received feedback from one of your riders expressing concern with traffic maneuvers and phone use on a recent trip.
As explained in our Community Guidelines, serious or repeated claims of poor, unsafe, or distracted driving can result in loss of access to the Driver app.
We appreciate your understanding.
It’s a lie for cheap passengers to get $5 Uber credit. It’s fraud committed by Uber passengers putting my livelihood at risk. Over 3000 trips, 4.93 rating, tell that passenger to go screw themselves. Tell that passenger to stop defrauding Uber.
Thank you for providing additional details. When these trips happen, we are not in the vehicle. As a result, outreach to both parties is standard practice. Our feedback to you isn’t designed to be accusatory in nature. Our goal here is to simply make sure you are aware of the type of feedback you received and hear your side of the story as well.
And he responds:
My records speaks for itself, over 3000 rides, hundreds of compliments and Uber sends me fraudulent passenger garbage, typical Uber. If it’s not an accusation, why are you bothering me with fraudulent passenger feedback. I’m an independent contractor according to Uber, stop being judge, jury and executioner. Go deal with your cheap passengers trying to get a free ride!
So yeah, I’d say this is going to go really great…
I appreciate Uber adding an option to provide feedback to drivers when unsafe behavior is noticed. I would report this not because I’m a passenger looking for Uber credit, but rather because I just want to provide feedback and contribute to any overall patterns for the driver.
I’ll take it a step further — I don’t think Uber should offer riders any credit when they use this feature to report drivers, because I think that creates a counterproductive incentive to use the feature.
Even with good intentions, I fear this will only make some drivers resent their jobs even more.
Riders and drivers — what do you make of Uber’s new safety feature for reporting drivers?