Whether it’s getting to the airport in the morning or home after a night out, people across the UK rely on Uber to book a safe ride from A to B.
With millions of trips across the UK every month, the safety of riders and drivers using the Uber app is a top priority. We use technology to bring accountability and transparency to every ride with validated accounts, driver photos, and a two-way rating system. Every trip is tracked by GPS, meaning that riders can share a live map of their journey with friends or loved ones. And of course, every driver is licensed by a local council and has been through an enhanced DBS check.
More than one in five Londoners say they have used Uber in the last three months to get home after midnight, and a recent YouGov poll found that Uber users consider the app to be safer than all other options to travel home after midnight. But we know there’s always more we can do to promote safety, and that technology alone is not enough, which is why we wanted to let you know about a few initiatives we’ve recently kicked off.
Barnardo’s – protecting children and vulnerable adults
Taxi and private hire drivers are often recognised as the ‘eyes and ears’ of their local communities. We’re working with Barnardo’s
– one of the UK’s leading children’s charities – to make the most of this, by ensuring that any driver using the Uber app knows how to spot signs and situations where a child or adult may be vulnerable.
All drivers using the Uber app will have access to safeguarding training developed and delivered by Barnardo’s, specifically focused on the important role that taxi and private hire drivers can play.
Julie Dugdale from Barnardo’s Training and Consultancy said: “We’re delighted Uber is using our eLearning programme on safeguarding designed specifically for taxi and private hire drivers. They play a vital part in the community in recognising when a child, young person or vulnerable adult may be at risk from harm. Barnardo’s safeguarding app enables taxi and private hire drivers to spot the warnings signs and know how to report such concerns. We’re pleased Uber has taken this important step in helping to keep children and vulnerable adults safe.”
Hollaback! – the global movement to end harassment
We’ve started working with Hollaback London
– part of the global movement to end harassment. Hollaback! has previously worked with the British Transport Police and Transport for London to help reduce sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in the city.
We believe that everyone has the right to be safe. We’re working with Hollaback to ensure that Uber’s policy prohibiting harassment and violence of any form comes with the best possible advice and guidance for drivers and riders.
Through our work together, we will:
Ensure every driver using the Uber app has received specific guidance on sexual harassment (recognising, preventing, and taking positive action against it)
Develop resources to empower drivers on the app to safely intervene where they see sexual harassment happening.
Provide Uber’s Incident Response Team with specialised training to equip them with the necessary skills to best respond to any reports of sexual harassment or assault on the platform.
Bryony Beynon from Hollaback London said: “At Hollaback we believe that everyone must work together to challenge harassment and assault wherever it takes place because no single organisation can end violence by itself. It takes all of us to make a real change. This starts with a clear policy that supports victims and holds perpetrators accountable, and extends to building the necessary skills and culture to ensure an effective, compassionate and zero tolerance response. By providing practical advice and training support for Uber in London, we hope to be part of achieving this.”
Clear guidance for riders & drivers
Last February we published a policy explaining when riders and drivers may lose access to the Uber app.
The new Community Guidelines
explain the kind of behaviour expected from both riders and drivers when using the Uber app. These Guidelines are an important part of reminding everyone to treat others in the vehicle with respect.
Working closely with local councils to ensure consistent safety standards
Uber is also committed to working with local councils to use technology to improve safety checks and standards.
Local councils have a vital role to play in keeping the public safe – they are responsible for ensuring all licensed private hire and taxi drivers and vehicles are ‘fit and proper’. The challenge is that there are over 340 local councils in the UK – each making their own decisions and often not communicating these to other councils.
We hope to see a more joined-up approach to licensing across UK councils. As a starting point, we would welcome a national register of licence revocations and refusals – which would help ensure consistent licensing decisions are being made across the UK.
In the absence of a national licensing database, Uber recently introduced a new process that helps to improve transparency and consistent application of council licensing decisions. We work with local councils to check whether drivers they have refused to licence are driving elsewhere in the UK on the Uber app.