In December 2014, ride sharing service Uber, announced plans for much tighter safety measures in India, following the rape of a passenger who was using the service. Uber have now confirmed that two new security features, an in-app panic button and journey/location sharing, will be rolled out to users in India in the next week.
Uber decided to go public with the launch date following the Times Of India reporting that the Mumbai transportation department was thinking of a ban on their service over their approach to safety. The authorities are reportedly less than happy with Uber representatives’ responses in the various meetings that were held, to consider passengers’ safety measures.
The new in-app panic button will alert the local police when it is triggered. This coupled with the ability to let customers share details of their location and trip, alongside Uber’s ‘Share my ETA’ feature with up to five other people, will be rolled out in India next week. Uber have previously stated that these new features will be rolled out globally in the future, but India is the first priority in response to the more intense concerns regarding safety following the rape incident.
The Times Of India has reported Uber has irritated the authorities in Mumbai with a reluctance to install physical panic buttons inside Uber drivers’ cars. This is a mandatory regulation inside the city of Mumbai.
Uber has proposed a single panic button, one that is installed by the driver and connected directly to the local police, as other option. Following this, Uber then lashed out at officials in Mumbai, adding that “forward looking regulatory authorities in India are already embracing this position and requiring technology platforms to have in-app safety features.”
The U.S. company has applied for a mandatory radio license and they revealed that they have adopted a non-profit model in the city until it is granted. Uber returned to operation in New Delhi last month, six weeks after the firm was banned following the rape incident.
[Image via thetechportal]