Let’s face it – e-hailing services haven’t had the best rap in 2020.
Following multiple reports of assault from some drivers(or in some cases, those pretending to be drivers) in South Africa, women have upped our precautions to the point where many have shared that they don’t want to e-hail at all, and have taken to cancel companies point blank.
No seriously Bolt South Africa should be cancelled, they have put us through the worst honestly… from sexually assaulting to robbing now they’re scamming…Hayi Bolt check yourself please
— nombi matshoba (@matshoba_nombi) September 8, 2022
The conversation around ensuring you catch a ride you’re paying for safely has become messy. A few months ago, 94.7 Radio Host Anele Mdoda led the charge and took to interview a Bolt driver to find out more about why assault cases kept happening.
Time’s gone on and we’re now at a point where apology emails and tweets from companies are no longer cutting it. It’s better safety features many are after, and Uber might be onto something with its latest audio-recording feature.
Already used in North and South America, Uber’s security audio feature is having its trial run in Johannesburg and Pretoria which will run for the next few weeks.
How it works
You now have the option to open your Safety Toolkit on the Uber app, press the Record Audio feature (which neither you nor the driver will be able to playback) and send it to Uber’s support team if you’re starting to get signals that something isn’t right. For example, if you notice the trip wasn’t headed to your destined location and said something only to receive a sketchy answer, you’d have that on record (literally).
This tool especially comes in handy when used with other safety features part of the Toolkit. It also makes gathering evidence for the scenarios that admittedly no one wants to be in a lot easier, taking them away from hearsay status.
The listening feature also works for drivers, so should they experience anything worrisome from a passenger, they too can use the audio to get help from Uber.
According to the general manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, Kagiso Khaole per Mail&Gaurdian, the feature was built with privacy in mind. Importantly, the recorded audio file remains encrypted (unable to be opened) only until a safety incident is shared or filed. The Uber team will then decrypt it so that it can’t be toyed with by the other two parties.