By: Staff Writer, ITWeb

Following the pilot of its new opt-in audio-recording feature, e-hailing firm Uber SA says it will now be rolled out nationally, effective 1 December.

Initially piloted in Pretoria and Johannesburg from September, the feature enables riders and drivers to record audio while they are on the trip for evidence collection, in the case of a safety incident.

In a statement, the firm says during its two-month pilot, over 3 400 drivers and 80 000 riders who use the Uber app set up the feature, adding that feedback has been positive so far.

Where there has been a safety incident and either the rider or driver has submitted the recorded audio to Uber, Uber’s safety team has been able to carry out and conclude more in-depth and fair evidence-based outcomes, it states.

“Drivers have been asking for this feature based on their feedback from roundtable sessions and we are excited to be rolling out this feature nationally,” says Collen Mphabantshi, senior operations manager for safety at Uber Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We believe it will offer riders and drivers the peace of mind they need to travel with ease, as well as improve conduct on the app.”

The in-app function has been successful in the US and Latin American, where it was introduced a few years ago, particularly serving as evidence in dispute resolution incidents.

Uber believes the audio-recording tool helps to improve the overall quality of evidence collected on the safety cases that are reported by both riders and drivers. Both riders and drivers are able to record the trip and submit their recordings during instances where an incident report has been submitted by either party.

By logging a safety incident along with the recording, the rider or driver gives Uber permission to access the file for investigation purposes.

According to Uber, the audio-recording feature follows the recent launch of Safety Check-Up, a feature that encourages riders to utilise and turn on the safety features available in-app, including Trusted Contacts, Verify My Ride and RideCheck.

“As we head into the festive season, we would like to remind riders and drivers to put safety first and to make use of Uber’s safety features if they feel uncomfortable in any way,” adds Mphabantshi.


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