Malawi draws up new cyber security guidelines to protect finance

Batten down
the hatches

Malawi to better
protect finance sector.

ITWeb Africa

Wednesday, Feb 19th

Uber reviews cash payment option to ensure driver safety

Uber reviews cash payment option to ensure driver safety

Uber has announced changes to its ride-hailing process in an effort to strengthen security for driver partners in South Africa. The technology company is to introduce a cash indicator feature, giving driver partners the option to reject cash trip requests.

Jonathan Ayache, General Manager for Uber South Africa says feedback from driver-partners has led to the decision to prioritise card payments.

"While some driver-partners have asked for the cash option to be removed, other driver-partners feel the cash option has opened them up to new riders and provides the consumer with more choice. Cash is a dominant payment method in Africa and many riders do not have cards to use on the app; cash removes the barrier for those without a card who want to use Uber. That's why it's not feasible to remove the cash option completely - we believe riders should have the freedom to pay for rides how they wish, but we also believe that driver-partners should have the freedom to accept cash trips or not."

Uber says the dispatch process will not be impacted, although it is likely to take longer to find a ride using cash because the app will alert another driver-partner when a cash trip request is declined.

Attacks more frequent

Attacks on Uber drivers have become more frequent and dangerous in South Africa as meter taxi drivers continue to express their opposition to the introduction of the ride-hailing service in the country.

An Uber driver in Johannesburg was hospitalised last week after he sustained chemical burns to his face following an acid attack by a person alleged to have been a passenger. A few weeks earlier another Uber driver from Pretoria died from injuries he sustained after his car was set alight.

Ayache says Uber remains committed to using and investing in technological solutions to any issues including safety.

"Unfortunately, Uber's technology cannot prevent crime, but with the introduction of core safety features such as GPS tracking, 24/7 support, an emergency number for drivers, as well as our partnership with multiple security companies, and now, the cash indicator, we are doing everything we can to prioritise the safety of those using the Uber app. We will regularly monitor the success of the pilot."

While police in South Africa work to combat attacks on Uber drivers, more ride-hailing services are entering the market among them Scoop A Cab and Yookoo.

Kenny Niemach, Chief Operations Officer of Yookoo Incorporated, which recently launched its own ride hailing app for use by disgruntled metered taxi drivers specifically, says more people in the transport industry are taking steps to challenge Uber with technology.

"We created this taxi application for the South African Metered Taxi Association. We recognise their plight, we understood what their situation was, simply because you had another company coming into the country and opening a parallel business. We took it upon ourselves to approach them, we spoke to them and they said we can assist them and we are now just finishing up the legalities of the agreement. Essentially we are in partnership with them."