Uber introduces rider call back line for added safety
JOHANNESBURG - Uber assured its users improved safety and security with the introduction of an Incident Response Team (IRT) call-back line for safety-related matters that could be accessed from the app. 

The taxi e-hailing service provider implemented this technology feature following public concerns from riders who sought an option to speak to someone in the event that their safety was threatened. 

The 24/7 feature could provide peace-of-mind to users who may be worried about using uber taxis following the worrisome murder of a Taxify driver, Siyabonga Ngcobo. Ngcobo was killed on March 8 in Sunnyside after he was kidnapped, thrown into the boot of a Chevrolet Aveo and later set alight. 

Uber said riders already had access to a global network of customer support centres to provide 24/7 support for general queries all over the world. The IRT call-back line would enable riders to submit tickets for a critical safety incident or accident through the app, including contact number and short description of the event. They would then receive a call-back within a couple minutes from uber’s Global Incident Response Team.

Uber expected this safety component to complement some of the safety and support features uber offered. These included the deployment of security guards at Gautrain stations and partneredships with multiple security response services. Security response serivices would dispatch security and medical services in emergency situations within reduced time. 

General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits said:  “We are always looking for ways to improve communication with our community and we are excited to be announcing this call back line for riders for any safety-related matters they might have.

“We have listened to the hundreds of thousands of riders using the Uber app in South Africa and they have expressed the need to be able to speak with our teams in the event of a critical safety-related issue.  While part of Uber’s commitment is to ensure rider safety, we strongly encourage riders to always first use the national emergency line (10111). With the introduction of the IRT call-back line, we are able to help riders speak with our dedicated IRT within minutes"