Uber checks cash pas­sen­gers

App now has link to so­cial me­dia to ver­ify ID

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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