Driver selfies with masks, checklist, 2 riders — Uber’s new safety measures to address Covid

The Uber app can be seen on a phone | Pixabay
Uber app on a phone | Pixabay

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New Delhi: With Union the government now allowing private cabs to ply even in red zones, cab aggregation giant Uber is all set to resume services with new safety measures.

According to an official statement from Uber Monday, both drivers and riders have to wear masks throughout the ride.

“As they (drivers) log in, they will be asked to take a photo of themselves with a mask on. Only after wearing a mask, they will be allowed to take rides,” said Sachin Kansal, senior director (product management), Uber, in the statement.

The safety measures also include a ‘Go Online Checklist’ for both riders and drivers, and an updated feedback policy.

The new features are aimed at building a new product experience to help protect everyone, every time you use Uber, the statement said. The Uber app will have all these new features starting Monday. 

Earlier this month, Uber had resumed operations only in green and orange zones.

Also read: Donald Trump & top US defense officer disagree on Covid origins, Uber fires 14% workforce


Other safety measures

According to the new safety measures, before drivers start accepting trips, they will be asked to take a selfie with masks on. Drivers can even cancel rides if a rider isn’t wearing a mask and vice-versa.

Also, before a driver can go online, they will be asked to confirm, via the ‘Go Online Checklist’, that they’ve taken the safety measures and are wearing a face mask.

Our new technology will verify if the driver is wearing a mask by asking them to take a selfie. After we verify the driver is covering their face, we’ll notify the rider via an in-app message,” the statement added.

A similar checklist has been built for the riders too. Before every trip, riders must confirm that they’ve taken precautions such as they’re wearing a face mask, and have sanitised their hands, said Uber.

On its new feedback policy, Uber said: “Now, we are adding new options for feedback, such as those related to health and safety expectations. Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber.”

Besides, to allow social distancing between the driver and rider, Uber has advised riders not to sit in the front seat. Only two riders will be allowed in a car and they’ll have to sit in the rear seat.

Uber procured personal protection gear

The US-based firm also said it has allocated $50 million globally to procure personal protection gear. 

“In India, we’ve been distributing millions of safety supplies to our drivers. We have sourced more than 3 million three-ply face masks, 1.2 million shower caps for Moto riders, 200,000 bottles of disinfectants and 200,000 bottles of sanitisers for free distribution to all our driver partners,” Uber said.

As for city-specific guidelines, as to where all Uber will operate, the cab aggregator said it will be updated every now and then on their website.

Ola’s ‘10 Steps to a Safer Ride’

Another ride-hailing giant Ola also announced safety measures earlier this month.

“Ola’s ‘10 Steps to a Safer Ride’ initiative emphasises the importance for both the customers and driver partners to contribute equally to ensure safety during all rides. Hence, all rides will be driven only across the identified safe zones and to ensure every driver-partner adheres to the safety rules, a mandatory selfie authentication mechanism has been put into place before and after every ride,” said Ola.

Additionally, all cars will be cleaned and sanitised after each ride, and a flexible cancellation policy has also been introduced under which both the customer and driver-partner can cancel the ride if they feel the other party is not following the rules or not wearing a mask, it added.

Also read: Uber will require drivers and passengers to wear masks in cars


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