Since the ‘rape by an Uber driver’ incident occurred in India, the company was facing heavy backlash from the people as well as the government. Many state governments have even voted to ban the Uber ride-sharing app in India. By understanding the consequences, Uber has finally decided to launch its first ever “Panic Button” for Uber riders across India.
By adding a Panic Button in the app, Uber aims to deliver a better quality service along with finding resolutions to its previously reported safety issues. According to the reports, this has been the feature many people calling for since last year’s New Delhi rape incident. According to the sources, when an Uber rider presses the panic button in their smartphone app, the company will be dispatching the authority quickly to their location.
Uber stated in a blog post:
“We have established a dedicated local Incident Response Team that oversees and responds to incidents against property and person reported by riders and will also receive a notification (in addition to the local Police) when the in-app panic button is pressed. This specialized team has completed an extensive training programme by our U.S. safety experts and will be reachable 24×7. They will also assist local law enforcement officers during distress situations.”
When the rider presses the panic button present in Uber app, the application will immediately alert the local authorities, including local police with the user’s name, current location and the other trip details available, so that it will be very easier to track the location and the probability of avoiding a bad incident will be higher. Along with this new feature, Uber will also release “Safety Net” feature in their app, where users can share their ride details along with their GPS location with other relevant information with up to five friends (emergency contacts).
Safety net feature will help those riders who are travelling late night after leaving a party with friends or travelling alone at night. It was expected that Uber might launch the physical panic button on Uber cars, though the company hasn’t revealed anything about it yet. The company might be concerned about the expenses of installing physical buttons and amount of the confusions generated by the accidentally pressing of physical buttons, including mechanical failures or malfunctions.
Moreover, this addition of new features such as Panic Button and Safety Net will benefit the ride-sharing company to further expand its operations in one of the largest marketplace in the world without any obstacles. The company needs to focus more on safety issues in development countries such as India before it pulls out its wings to spread more. If these features helps to avoid such bad incidents, Uber might launch the same features in other countries too.