Uber in new safety measure for riders

by Evelyne Ogutu

Uber has announced new privacy changes to its app in Nairobi that now anonymises phone numbers of driver-partners and riders.

Effective July 12, 2018, drivers and riders will no longer have access to each other’s private phone numbers.

“Phone anonymisation is a safety precaution, ensuring that the privacy of both driver-partners and riders is considered at all times,” says Loic Amado, General Manager for Uber in East Africa.

Uber will now use software to connect calls between a driver and a rider that anonymises both cell phone numbers. Drivers will now see the same contact number for each rider that contacts them. Once a trip comes to an end, riders are encouraged to use Uber’s 24/7 in-app support should they need to reach a driver.

“The benefit of using our in-app support is two-fold. Riders have access to 24/7 support in the event that they need assistance (no more calling a driver that cannot be reached due to the driver being on the road). Secondly, this change has the added benefit of keeping a formal track record of communication. Uber will have a record of correspondence to assist with a request, for example, in the event of a rider having left an item in a vehicle,” says Amado.

Phone anonymisation complies with Uber’s community guidelines promoting mutual respect between riders and drivers by securing each identity and preventing either from contacting each other unnecessarily post a trip.

The in-app Help service can be accessed within the Uber app by tapping the menu icon (three bars) in the top left hand corner. Riders can then navigate and tap on the “help” icon, scroll down and report the issue at hand.

In-app Help can be used for some of the below common queries, as well as any other trip related queries:

  • Incorrect fare / an issue with the trip
  • Item left in the vehicle
  • Selection of incorrect payment option

“At Uber we’re happy to improve consumer experience wherever we can, we hope riders and drivers in Nairobi enjoy this added privacy benefit,” concludes Amado.

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