Uber checks cash passengers
App now has link to social media to verify ID
UBER is rolling out a new feature on its ride-hailing app that will require cash payers to verify their identity via a Facebook page.
Uber said in a statement this is to improve the safety of the company’s “driver-partners”.
The new feature is called Social Connect, and requires cash riders to link to Facebook or another social-media page to verify their identity.
This after two Uber drivers suffered burn wounds after recent attacks by passengers who stole their cars. The crimes come after the launch of Uber’s Cash Indicator, which allows drivers to choose whether they’d like to accept a cash trip or not.
Drivers campaigned for years before Uber allow cash trips in South Africa, where most clients prefer to pay cash.
Alon Lits, general manager, Uber Sub Saharan Africa, said in a statement that reducing anonymity is a real deterrent to crime and one of the key safety benefits of Uber.
Social Connect will now require riders to link their requests to a social-media page so that drivers can verify their identity before accepting a passenger.
Lits said that while drivers share the company’s concern regarding the safety of cash trips, cash remains the dominant payment method in South Africa.
“We look forward to applying this additional layer of safety to verify rider identity and further strengthen the rider authentication process,” Lits said.
Verification for Social Connect will request cash riders without a valid credit card on file to confirm their identity by linking to their Facebook account.
The variables that are verified are the number of friends, verified profile and phone number. Uber will only use the link to Facebook to verify a user and check for a legitimate Facebook profile. Lits assured that Uber will not post to Facebook on a user’s behalf.
Not all new riders will see the Social Connect request immediately, as Uber will roll out Social Connect in September.
Uber is also piloting Share My Trip on the driver’s app in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Drivers who feel insecure in a certain area or a time of day will be able to use the Share my Trip feature, which sends a location to family, colleagues or one of the security companies that Uber has contracted across South Africa, to provide quicker response times to drivers in need.