Remember the days when traveling without a car required either an encyclopedic knowledge of local public transport or sufficient intestinal fortitude to endure that feeling of your shoes slowly congealing to the grimy taxi cab floor?
Ride-sharing has changed all that! We live in a transportationally enlightened age. Uber and other rideshare services have obviously made life more convenient for local travel. Still, all that added convenience is wrapped up in a big, unpleasant question mark: Is it safe?
As a society, we’re still learning about what can go wrong when a heavily regulated service like the taxi industry gives way to the wild frontier of ride-sharing. But in a recent app update, Uber has shown they’re committed to making ride-sharing safer without unduly compromising the convenience factor.
Let’s look at a few of Uber’s smart new security features.
Smart New 911 Text Features
One ongoing security concern with ride-sharing is that once you get into a strange car, you’re entrusting your well-being and security to the person behind the wheel. Now, for the most part, that trust is warranted. After all, Uber applies a vetting process for its drivers.
Nevertheless, it’s a leap of faith not everyone is willing to take. To significantly lower passenger unease, Uber has integrated a new stealth 911 feature right into its app.
Now, if a passenger has any concerns about their driver, they can simply tap a button from within the app. Uber will send a car and driver description and route details to 911, all without the passenger having to signal to the driver that anything is wrong.
One great thing about this new 911 feature is that the app already contains all the data police services require to intervene swiftly. Every important detail about your journey reaches 911 instantly and silently. This can make all the difference in a stressful and hazardous situation.
A Better Way to Confirm Your Driver is Legit
Another enduring concern with ride-sharing is how easy it is (especially if you’re rushed or have had one too many drinks!) to get into the wrong car. To address that, Uber has introduced a smart pin code verification option.
If you choose to activate pin code verification when you hail an Uber, when your car arrives, your driver will have to verify their identity using their smartphone.
The cool thing about this process is that it’s designed for convenience, and requires only a few additional steps.
After entering a pin-code, both your and your driver’s phone will emit an ultra-sonic pulse, effectively sending a secure “handshake” between both devices. Optionally, you also can add a face verification step into the mix.
Stay Safe Out There
While these new features are undeniably a step in the right direction for ride-sharing (and nerdishly ingenious to boot!), nothing should replace the exercise of good old-fashioned common-sense.
Before you grab your next Uber and fire up those slick new security features, take a moment to review the risks of ride-sharing. Find an approach and comfort level that feels right for you.
Stay safe out there, ride-sharing nerds!