Following the murder of a college student who mistakenly entered a vehicle she believed to be an Uber, the ridesharing company is rolling out a number of new safety features. Starting today, the Uber app will send push notifications containing driver details including license plate number, vehicle type and color. An in-app banner will also remind people to confirm they are getting into the correct car.
In addition to the in-app notifications, which will be made available nationwide in the coming days, Uber is also launching a new Campus Safety Initiative. The company is partnering with the University of South Carolina to create dedicated pickup zones on campus. The areas will be well-lit and have law enforcement officers stationed nearby to ensure safe travel. Uber is also creating a new tool called "Campus Rides" that will provide lifts around the Unversity of South Carolina campus when other options are unavailable. Uber plans on working with other schools across the US to set up similar services.
While the case the sparked the latest safety features occurred off of Uber's platform, the ridesharing service has long struggled with issues of violence. Hundreds of accusations of sexual assault and rape have been made against Uber drivers, prompting the company to eventually expand background checks for drivers and roll out safety features to quickly connect users to emergency services if they found themselves in a dangerous situation. Uber's primary competitor Lyft has also worked to address these issues, most recently introducing continuous background checks that will alert the company if a driver picks up any disqualifying criminal convictions.