The long-awaited Uber panic button feature launched in South Africa in 2018. Local users now have access to an in-app security service for riders as well as drivers. The feature came into effect after years of complaints and reports of intimidation and violence from both drivers and riders.
The e-hailing service has faced backlash since as early as 2014 over increasing reports of intimidation and abuse that have gone as far as killings, vehicle torchings and even brutal acid attacks.
The in-app feature is provided by emergency app response developers ICEplus, who have been working with Uber since last year. The feature allows riders to call for assistance directly from the Uber app by tapping the shield icon on the map.
We are thrilled to be able to offer this feature to riders. ICEPlus has integrated perfectly with our app and will provide a better experience for riders,” – Alon Lits, General Manager
Once activated, users will be connected to the ICEplus Incident Management Centre, where an emergency consultant will assess the incident and will either dispatch a third-party security company or medical response team to the rider’s location. The 2018 update also includes a ‘Trusted Contacts’ feature which allows users to select up to five people to share their trip details with. The mobile panic button can also be found and used in Uber’s safety toolkit in the app.