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Uber announces new safety features amid COVID-19, masks now mandatory for both driver and riders

Photo-based verification of drivers, sanitised cars also among list of measures

Uber on Monday announced a series of new safety features across their various product offerings in view of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The key policy that the company announced for India would be the requirement to wear masks or face covers for both driver and riders and also rolled out a set of new features in their app to ensure the same. The features were launched on Monday and will be rolled out across the country in the coming week.

Also read: Uber offers free rides to frontline healthcare workers in Chennai

Among the new features is a photo-based verification of drivers every time they log in. Drivers will be required to click a photo wearing a mask and the new technology does not allow the photo to be clicked unless the camera detects the mask. Sachin Kansal, Global Senior Director, Product Management, Uber, said that they had recently developed this technology and it will help ensure that there is enforcement of their policy. “This will have to be done every time they log in and go online,” he said.

The other notable feature is that rides can be cancelled by either the driver or the rider if the other is not wearing a mask. The option has been added among other options for cancelling a trip. Even while rating a driver or a rider, not wearing a mask or face cover has been listed among reasons for a poor rating, if either removes the mask during the journey.

Also read: Ola, Uber resume services in cities in Green, Orange Zones

From a riders’ perspective, UberPool will continue to remain suspended, while only two passengers will be allowed in products like UberGo in order to extend physical distancing across all their offerings. “We want to err on the side of safety during these transitional times,” Mr. Kansal said during an online press interaction while explaining the new features.

Drivers will also be expected to sanitise their cars after each ride and Uber will be providing free health and safety supplies to them. Drivers can access these from various centres set up by the company and will be directed to the closest one through the app. Mr. Kansal said that they had set up around 90 centres across 14 cities in India.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:22:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/uber-announces-new-safety-features-amid-covid-19-masks-now-mandatory-for-both-driver-and-riders/article31612490.ece

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