Uber’s New Technology: Do Snitches Still Get Stiches?

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Yesterday, Uber rolled out a new safety feature that is necessary but I trust will raise some eyebrows, and can be controversial (particularly among drivers).

If you’ve ever taken an Uber with any frequency, you’ve probably had an experience (or two…or three) that more or less scared you. For example, the driver could have been texting while driving, or speeding and driving aggressively.

THIS IS REAL LIFE

I know there have been a few situations where I’ve been a bit uneasy with the “style of driving,” particularly when I’ve had my daughter in the car. But dealing with the situation can be even more challenging. For example, you can:

  1. Voice your opinion about the driving behavior but that can be uncomfortable because you never know how people will react these days or;
  2. You can give them a bad rating at the end of the ride. However, their ability to continue being a driver with the rideshare program depends on having a good rating. In other words, your bad rating could lead to dismissal from driving with the ride share program and could impact their livelihood if that’s their primary job.

Snitch On The Driver?

Uber has just added a feature that allows riders to report safety concerns during the rides. It’s called their “Safety Toolkit.”

Simply click on the blue shield symbol during a ride, click “Report Safety Issue,” and you’ll have the opportunity to share your concerns.

After submitting your concerns, the feedback will only be supplied to the driver AFTER the ride and a member of the safety team will contact the passenger.

I assume Uber has received critical feedback concerning their firing practices and this is their way of providing a “buffer” time period, so they are able to pick up on patterns, should a driver consistently get the same complaint.

GREAT IN THEORY BUT IN PRACTICE?

As far as I’m concerned, this is no doubt a positive development for passengers as Uber has had some newsworthy and viral safety challenges.

However, I’m not sure this is exactly how this model was supposed to play out as Twitter user @sergioaved writes about being the recipient of a safety notice from Uber…

Uber wrote:

We received feedback from one of your riders expressing concern with traffic maneuvers and phone use on a recent trip.

As explained in our Community Guidelines, serious or repeated claims of poor, unsafe, or distracted driving can result in loss of access to the Driver app.

We appreciate your understanding.

The response:

It’s a lie for cheap passengers to get $5 Uber credit. It’s fraud committed by Uber passengers putting my livelihood at risk. Over 3000 trips, 4.93 rating, tell that passenger to go screw themselves. Tell that passenger to stop defrauding Uber.

Uber responded:

Thank you for providing additional details. When these trips happen, we are not in the vehicle. As a result, outreach to both parties is standard practice. Our feedback to you isn’t designed to be accusatory in nature. Our goal here is to simply make sure you are aware of the type of feedback you received and hear your side of the story as well.

The response:

My records speaks for itself, over 3000 rides, hundreds of compliments and Uber sends me fraudulent passenger garbage, typical Uber. If it’s not an accusation, why are you bothering me with fraudulent passenger feedback. I’m an independent contractor according to Uber, stop being judge, jury and executioner. Go deal with your cheap passengers trying to get a free ride!

Later the message continues by saying:

Uber never listens to driver’s side of the story. Thousands of unjust deactivations by fraudulent passenger notifications is proof of that. No go kick fraudulent passengers off the platform.

So yeaaaaah…

FINAL STAMP

Recently, I took an uber to the airport and the driver had an iPad fixed to his windshield however, it was located in the middle of his seat and he had to peer around it to see the road.

So when I first heard about this safety feature, I thought it was a great idea with no second thoughts but I never thought about it from the drivers point of view. Is this the best way to “grade” a driver?

I appreciate Uber adding an option to provide feedback to drivers when there is, perhaps, questionable safety concerns. However, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling and have heard my fair share of how riders scam Uber (e.g. reporting a driver to receive an Uber credit towards a future ride) often at the expense of the driver being fired. So let me ask you…

Should we be “grading” the drivers? Is there a perfect ratio of good rides vs. complaints in which a driver should be fired? Should a rider be banned for complaining too much? Have you ever voiced your concerns about a drivers behavior? Have you ever given a bad rating? What do you think about Uber’s new safety feature?

2 comments

  1. I wrote about a scary ride to Lyft and there was no credit given. Just a thank you and we won’t match you again. I think that unless someone gets crazy if the $5 credit is automatic they can just get rid of that and just say thanks we won’t match you. Problem solved.

    Liked by 1 person

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