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As the year draws to a close and the festive season approaches, many people will be planning and preparing to travel near and far to visit their family and friends. With the increase in movement and visitations, the risk of rising cases is high, which is why Uber would like to offer riders and drivers a few festive season safety tips: 

  • No Mask. No Ride

Proceeding with caution and safety top of mind as we navigate around the new normal is crucial to staying safe especially when it comes to interacting with other people or using public transport services to get around.  

It’s no secret that masks have been proven to act as an effective barrier in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. While all Uber riders and drivers will be required to wear a mask or face covering when taking a trip,  Uber has a in-app safety checklist before drivers go online that  asks drivers to take a selfie to verify they are wearing a mask or face covering using new object recognition technology – they will not be able to go online until confirmed. Any rider reported for not wearing a mask will be required to take a selfie with their mask on before they can request their next trip. Drivers can also cancel a ride without a penalty if a rider isn’t wearing a mask or face covering. Riders can do the same.

  • Following COVID-19 protocols

The Coronavirus will be around for some time, and to get through this we need to stay focused in order to stay safe. We have provided an interactive safety checklist that riders and drivers must acknowledge before going online:

  • Riders will be required to take safety precautions and will receive a reminder before each trip to follow hygiene best practices, like washing their hands before getting in the car, and opening windows for ventilation.

  • It is suggested that drivers follow World Health public health authority Covid-19 advice, including handwashing, cleaning cars, using sanitising products. When logging into the app, drivers will receive the checklist of steps that must be confirmed before taking trips on the Uber platform.

  • Drivers are required to sanitise their vehicles before or after every trip with a surface sanitiser.

Check Check Check!

First things first, always check! When you request your ride, check that you are requesting in a safe location. Minimise the time that you’re standing outside by yourself with your phone in your hand. Instead, wait inside until the app shows that your driver has arrived. If you need to contact your drive, simply message or call via the app. Uber uses an anonymised calling feature so neither of you will share your numbers.  

There is also nothing more important than making sure that you are getting into the right vehicle. Uber offers a check your ride feature, which allows riders to have a clear view of the license plate, driver photo and car make/model in order to verify that they are getting into the right vehicle. We’ve also added a pin-code verification feature that gives you the option to receive a four-digit PIN code to provide to the driver before starting a trip as another verification measure.  In addition, Real-Time ID Check regularly prompts drivers to take photos of themselves to make sure that the right driver is behind the wheel.

  • Peak time Madness

When it comes to any festive season, the demand for a service like Uber naturally rises which means you might find your trip’s price has increased or dropped compared to your typical cost estimate. This is no bug, it’s actually part of Uber’s dynamic pricing strategy, where a number of factors are used to calculate the price for a ride. Dynamic pricing encourages more drivers to get out on the road to serve you on the busiest night of the year and users will be made aware upfront before they accept the trip and once the demand and supply are balanced. 

And don’t forget you can even split the fare anytime before your trip ends, making group outings a lot easier on your wallet. Remember only three people and the driver will be permitted in the vehicle at a time. You can also check out our Multiple Destinations feature, which allows you to enter at most three stops (including your final destination). There’s nothing better than getting home with your friends and making sure everyone’s safe! 

  • Safer Communities

With Uber, every trip is insured by Chubb and tracked with GPS – no trip is anonymous. All drivers undergo a driving and criminal background check before they can drive on the app. 

But we’re always looking to do more. That’s why we’re constantly building and improving on how we approach safety. As an added benefit, we also have the Safety Toolkit function which is available at the tap of a button to access an in-app emergency button as well as Trusted Contacts to share where you are and where you’re headed with anyone in your device’s contact list so they can follow your ride in real-time. 

RideCheck has also been introduced which can detect anomalies, like an unexpected long stop, and proactively surfaces tools riders and drivers may need to get help.

  • A helping hand

Getting in touch has never been easier with the help of our 24/7 dedicated customer support team. Through our in-app support, you can be assisted with any lost items or trip related issues such as the wrong fare. Of course, you can always contact us directly. We operate an Uber support line for riders and drivers 24/7. Just open the “Help” section and select ‘Call Support’ to be connected to our support team via the app. 

After each trip, you’re asked in the app to rate your trip. Your feedback helps keep Uber safe and enjoyable for everyone. If you ever experience a safety issue on a trip, please report it to Uber. Our 24/7 response team will follow up.

For any safety-related matters, Uber’s Incident Response Team is always on call to respond immediately to any reported incidents or accidents. In the event that the Police get involved, our Law Enforcement Relations Team is always there to respond to urgent needs and walk the police through how Uber can assist in an investigation. 

  • Save your coins!

Uber is giving you one less thing to worry about with *UberNam, a more affordable option with the same door-to-door safety standards. We’ve also launched Uber Cash, a contactless payment option, allowing more people to use Uber’s apps, especially those who don’t have cash or cards at hand while limiting physical contact with others. For anyone relying on Uber to move around their city or have local favourites delivered to their door Uber has introduced Uber Pass, a monthly plan which unlocks savings across Uber and Eats through an all-in one bundle of benefits, making South Africa the first market in Europe, Middle East and Africa  to receive this unique offering. 

*UberNam is currently only available in select areas in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Not all riders will see this option at first, however, Uber aims to expand across South Africa

  • Hosting made simple

Spend more time setting the table and picking a playlist then stirring the sauce. Being able to choose your favourite meal from a range of restaurants on Uber Eats makes hosting that end-of-year dinner, or that laid-back game night the easiest thing you’ll do all year. We’ve made it almost too easy to whip together your own holiday soireé in no time. What are you waiting for?

This festive season is sure to be different than most but definitely one to remember. With Uber by your side, you’re bound to have a smooth sailing ride all through the holidays. And don’t forget,  Uber Connect remains available for you to send packages via the app to family and friends. No excuses for those special end-of-year gifts!

Uber, What to expect this festive season when catching a ride with Uber, smetechguru