Uber has announced the launch of 10 new safety measures and an on-trip protocol for its services in Egypt as the country reopens for coexistence with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The ride-hailing service company is taking unprecedented actions to help its customers stay safe and healthy as they move around. It includes requiring riders and drivers to wear face masks in accordance with government precautionary measures, whilst also facilitating a vehicle disinfection service. A new tech tool to verify if drivers are wearing a face mask has been launched to ensure customer peace of mind.
“We have been planning for the next phase and what the ‘new normal’ of taking an Uber trip would look like, and rider and driver safety remains a top priority as we get back on the road,” said Ahmed Khalil, General Manager of Uber Egypt, “We’re continuously learning about our users and their current need for access to distanced, hygienic, and safe modes of transportation as we move to coexist with COVID-19, which is why we’re proud to launch the new safety measures to help everyone who uses the app feel safe and at ease while on trip.”
A variety of safety measures were announced on Sunday, and include:
Pre-Trip Hygiene Precautions, including:
Vehicle disinfection: In partnership with Nacita AutoCare, Uber is offering free vehicle sanitisation services to eligible drivers at five Nacita branches in Cairo and Alexandria.
Sanitizer Reimbursement: Eligible drivers will be reimbursed for the one-time purchase of a sanitiser or disinfectant product of their choice.
Safety Checklists: A new interactive safety checklist has been launched that riders and drivers must acknowledge before using the app. Drivers are required to follow local public health authority advice on the virus, including regular hand washing, cleaning cars and using sanitising products. When logging into the app, drivers will receive the checklist of steps that must be confirmed before providing trips via the Uber platform.
Riders will also be required to take safety precautions, including following public health requirements, and will receive a reminder before each trip to follow hygiene best practices. This will include reminds to wash their hands before getting in the car, sitting in the backseat and opening windows for ventilation.
Mask Detection: Uber has launched an in-app face recognition tool to confirm that drivers are wearing a mask or face covering before going online. Once confirmed, riders will then receive a message that the driver is wearing a mask and has taken the necessary precautions and is ready to pick you up.
Free cancellations for safety concerns: Drivers can cancel a ride without a penalty if a rider is not wearing a mask or face covering, and riders can do the same. These cancellations must be related to safety concerns, as Uber’s Community Guidelines prohibit discrimination against anyone based on their race or perceived national origin.
Uber’s new on-trip protocol includes the following precautions:
Mandatory Face Masks: Following the government’s latest safety guidance, all riders and drivers are now required to wear masks or face coverings when using the Uber app. To help drivers follow the local health authority’s safety guidance, the company has provided drivers with free masks at Nacita AutoCare branches.
Seating: The maximum seating capacity has been reduced to three, and riders are encouraged to sit in the back seat for physical distancing between riders and drivers.
Payment: Riders are encouraged to pay with their credit/debit card or through Fawry outlets to avoid cash exchanges.
All safety measures and new protocol have been applied on Uber Bus trips as well, including mandatory face masks for all riders and drivers while on a trip. Adding to that, all buses now have sanitizer dispensers that riders can use while coming in or going out of the bus. The seating capacity has been set to a maximum of eight per trip, to encourage physical distancing between riders.
These new safety measures are applied on all Uber products, and will stay in effect for the coming period, and will be reviewed based on the latest official health guidance. Looking forward, Uber is committed by working with governments and public health bodies to help everyone stay safe when using the Uber app.