Uber Is Testing An Emergency Response Line, But There's A Catch
Uber may be working to implant more security protocols to protect its passengers. The transportation service has created an Uber emergency response number for users to call in the event that they need help. The catch? The number is purposely hidden somewhere in its app.
According to Inc., Uber's emergency response line has been available in 22 cities since October. However, the company has kept it under wraps until now, telling neither riders nor its drivers of the number's existence. Why all the secrecy? Apparently, that's its means of testing the hotline's "discoverability." In other words, Uber wants to see how easy it is for people to find and access the number on their own.
Of course, what really matters is what happens once you find and use the number. Basically, it will connect riders and drivers to two call centers based out of Chicago and Phoenix, where representatives are available to respond at all hours. The line is not meant as a replacement for 911, but rather a way to quickly solve urgent problems that don't necessarily require emergency services. For example, riders can call the response line if they leave something behind in the vehicle or if they have concerns about a driver. In the case of any true emergencies, the representatives are trained to alert the police.
As Inc. reports, Uber has described the hotline as a "pilot program" and is not revealing the locations where it's being tested (although anyone who has the number can call it regardless of where they are). It's unclear if or when they plan on expanding the program or making the number more known to its users.
Considering that safety has been a growing concern for Uber and its riders, it's odd that the company has decided not to be transparent about the emergency response line. Still, any added security measures are a good thing, so we can only hope that Uber will be making this hotline an official part of its app sooner rather than later.