Ridesharing service Uber has introduced an “in-app emergency assistance button” that dials 000 in Australia.
The move comes after two drivers in Sydney were arrested and charged with indecent assault on passengers in the last month, including the alleged rape of a teenage girl.
The company is introducing what it calls a ‘Safety Centre’.
The “safety toolkit” and in-app emergency button were launched in the US, Canada, India, and Latin America in April this year, and also allows drivers to contact emergency services. The company has not explained why there was a five-month delay in introducing it in Australia.
A trusted contact can also be automatically notified if you dial Triple-0. The app will also show your current location — both on a map and as an address — to tell an emergency operator.
Trusted Contacts has also been upgraded for up to five friends and/or family to share trip details during a ride and the Share My Trip function is now also included in the safety centre. You can also be prompted to share a trip with each one.
“We want you to have peace of mind when you use Uber, and hope these new features make it clear that we’ve got your back,” Uber Australia said in a statement.
The company says that over the coming weeks, users will see a ‘shield’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the map screen during a ride, which will take them straight to the “safety centre”.
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