In an effort to help users stay safe, Uber is rolling out a new feature that provides tips and information to help riders verify a pickup before getting in. Basically, Uber's new Check Your Ride feature is going to help you make sure that you're in the right car and that your driver is who you are expecting to show up. You may think there's no chance you will ever get in the wrong car while you're waiting on your Uber, but it never hurts to brush up on some safety tips. Better to be safe than sorry, right? Right. Here's what you need to know about the new feature.
On Thursday, April 18, Uber announced that it will be adding a new Check Your Ride feature to the app. This is all a part of Uber's new Campus Safety Initiative in conjunction with the University of South Carolina. The goal of the newly founded program is to help students steer clear of "fake rideshare drivers," according to press materials sent from Uber to Elite Daily. The first phase of the nationwide push to educate riders goes live in Columbia, South Carolina, starting on April 18. According to Uber, the the company will work with major U.S. universities to implement Check Your Ride zones in the months that follow the University of South Carolina's rollout.
Over time, users will have access to in-app notifications, dedicated pickup zones, and rides vouchers prior to starting a trip, per Uber. The in-app notifications will begin as soon as you get matched with a driver. These notifications will remind you to follow the Check Your Ride steps to ensure your own safety. A full, nationwide roll out is expected in the days to come, according to Uber. (This is a good time to make sure your Uber app is up-to-date.)
The rideshare company is also partnering with the University of South Carolina and the Columbia Police Department to create designated pickup zones in the city's Five Points district. This is the area where a University of South Carolina student was allegedly abducted and killed after mistakenly getting in what she thought to be an Uber, according to ABC News. According to the Columbia Police Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the investigation is still ongoing. In an emailed statement to Elite Daily, an Uber spokesperson says:
Since 2017, we’ve been working with local law enforcement to educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers. Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson’s family and loved ones. We spoke with the University of South Carolina President and will be partnering with the university to raise awareness on college campuses nationwide about this incredibly important issue.
Uber hopes to work with other major universities across the country to bring dedicated pickup zones for rideshare customers.
The initiative will also provide rides vouchers to users, starting with the University of South Carolina, Uber said in a press release. The idea behind the vouchers is to provide service to students during off hours or times of limited availability.
As mentioned above, the new Check Your Ride feature offers users three pickup safety steps to avoid getting in the wrong car. Here's what you should do to protect yourself from deceptive drivers:
- Match the license plate: First, make sure the license plate number on the front of the car matches the tag provided by Uber.
- Check the make and model: The second step is to look at the make and model of the car. This information will be available to you once your book your ride. When the car pulls up, check to see if the car's make and model is the same as the information in the Uber app.
- Verify the driver's identity: Finally, once you request a ride and the booking is confirmed, you should be provided with a picture of your driver. Before you get into the car, take a look at your driver and the image on your phone to ensure that your driver is who they say they are. You can also ask the driver to verify his or her name for added protection.
Uber also offers several other safety features within the app. There is a Safety Center where you can read up on safety and Uber, as well as add in Trusted Contacts in case of an emergency. Currently, you can also share your trip with other people. This is useful because it allows friends and family (or whoever you share your trip with) to see your location and trip status. The app also features 911 assistance that, in case of an emergency, lets you share your location with police.
The new Check Your Ride feature seems like it's going to be a great safety resource for riders once it's widely available. As a rule of thumb, I always make sure to share my ride with whomever I'm meeting. It may sound a bit much, but I'm of the belief that you can't be too careful. At the very least, I hope Uber's new Check Your Ride feature will help keep all of its riders safe.