Products

Ready When You Are: Uber’s commitment to safe travel during COVID-19

May 26 / South Africa

For the past few months, Uber has been urging riders to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who continue to make essential trips. Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, Uber is proceeding with caution and safety top of mind. We will all have a role to play to help each other stay healthy when traveling.

Here are some of the latest safety enhancements now available in South Africa.  

First and foremost, everyone on our platform will be required to wear masks or face covers when using Uber. Whether you are a rider, driver or delivery person—everyone must share in the responsibility of helping stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Go Online Checklist and Mask Verification

All Uber riders, drivers and couriers in South Africa will be required to wear a mask or face covering when taking a trip. As part of a new in-app safety checklist, before drivers and couriers go online they will be asked to take a selfie to verify they are wearing a mask or face covering using new object recognition technology. Any driver or courier who is not wearing a mask or other face covering will not be able to go online.

Drivers will also be asked to confirm they’ve taken additional safety measures such as regularly sanitising their car and making hand sanitiser available for their riders. While riders will be required to take safety precautions like washing their hands before getting in the car, sitting in the backseat and opening windows for ventilation. 

Accountability and Enforcement

Accountability is key—and it goes both ways. That’s why we are encouraging drivers to cancel trips without penalty if they don’t feel safe, including if the rider isn’t wearing a face cover. It’s important to note that Uber’s Community Guidelines prohibit discrimination against anyone based on their race, national origin or gender. 

If a driver shows up without a mask on, the rider can cancel the trip without penalty, too, and report the issue to us via the app. Uber’s two-way feedback system has long helped ensure both riders and drivers uphold certain standards by requiring feedback on issues like vehicle quality, navigation, and speeding. Now, we have added new options for feedback including having no face cover or mask. Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber.

Safety Education from Experts

Working with the World Health Organization and the latest public health advice, we have compiled safety tips and recommendations specifically geared toward ridesharing and food delivery. This will be used to educate riders, drivers, couriers and restaurants when we learn of unsafe behaviour. 

We’ve already begun sharing this information with users globally and we’ll now leverage the tips to educate riders, drivers, delivery people, and restaurants when we learn of unsafe behaviour. We’ve also included this information in COVID-19 safety educational videos.

During the first phase of the crisis, it’s been heartening to see our communities come together with a collective sense of responsibility. As we move into the new normal, it’s our goal to encourage this same sense of shared responsibility: Uber, riders, drivers, delivery people and restaurants—we all have a role to play in keeping each other safe and healthy.