Uber UK Debuts New Safety Policies Amid London Pressure

The British division of Uber introduced a number of safety policies amid increasing pressure from London whose administration is still trying to get the company kicked out of one of its largest metropolitan markets. A number of its newly introduced practices is already live in the capital of the United Kingdom and will soon make its way to the rest of the country, Uber said. One such policy is Uber's pledge to report any "serious incidents" involving its drivers or riders to the police, whereas its previous M.O. only encouraged any involved party to do so themselves. Following the change, Uber will proactively report any such incident to local authorities if it involves its riders, whereas it will also contact the police on the behalf of its drivers if any of them wish it to do so.

The ride-hailing service provider will also be introducing a new 24/7 telephone support line for both drivers and riders later this year. No specific availability timeframe has yet been attached to that promise as Uber is presently in the process of training some of its staff to manage the lines and is looking to hire additional people that will do the same from its existing support center in Limerick. Starting next month, Uber will also be providing its customers with the license number of their drivers in the form of an electronic receipt, in addition to highlighting it as part of their booking confirmation. Doing so should facilitate the process of raising issues with any driver's licensing authority if the customers feel such a move is necessary, whereas it will also accelerate any attempt to escalate a complaint with Uber's own licensing authorities such as Transport for London. Earlier this year, Uber introduced mandatory stops for drivers, requiring them to take a six-hour break after working for ten hours. The company said that move was more of a precautionary measure than a decision meant to address any immediate issue, having revealed its British drivers only spend approximately 30 hours logged into its app on a weekly basis.

The Share My Trip functionality is now also available to Uber drivers so that they're quickly able to tell their friends and family where they're located and when they can be expected to return. Finally, the startup called for British authorities to establish a national licensing database for professional drivers but noted it's already collaborating with city councils in order to ensure the existing licensing process is consistent across the country. The company is presently targeting a 2019 IPO and expects to become profitable within three years, according to recent statements from its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

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