Uber Responds To Concerns With Promises To Invest More In Customer Safety

After facing scrutiny in multiple markets over questions of passenger safety, global transportation service Uber said it is reviewing some of its business practices and is working to make improvements. In a blog post today the company detailed its road map for ensuring customer safety in the 260 markets that it operates in.

The company said it began the review in November, but the release of the road map is timely, given that Uber has seen a few setbacks on the customer safety front in recent weeks.

The most notable incident happened in New Delhi, India, where an Uber driver was accused of rape, which led the local government to ban ride-sharing services and resulted in the company suspending operations there.

Closer to home, Uber was sued by the District Attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles over what they say are misleading claims over the quality of the company’s background checks.

As a result of the global review of its safety practices, the company says it will be making some changes to both product and process around the world. On the product side, Uber says it is doing research and development in biometrics and voice verification to enhance driver screening. It also claims to be working on providing passengers with more tools to communicate with its team and loved ones in the case of an emergency.

Uber also says it’s committed to improving its driver-screening program — particularly in places where background checks aren’t available (or reliable), and in markets where verifying commercial licenses is a necessity.

In addition, Uber has hired a new head of global support named Tim Collins, who led Amazon’s Europe Operations. Collins will be in charge of improving the company’s customer service and safety incident response teams to provide 24/7 support in the case of an incident. Finally, the company said it would be working with partners with expertise in issues like women’s safety, conflict resolution and road safety to improve its processes.

For Uber, putting processes like these in place is just one part of growing up. After all, it’s no longer a tiny scrappy startup, but a global business worth $40 billion, based on its most recent fundraising.