I don’t drive or have a car, so I often rely on Uber to get around San Francisco. The company was started in my city, so I feel fairly safe taking it from point A to point B. However, I won’t lie: It’s hard to ignore the criticism Uber receives about it not being a 100% safe service. Shouldn’t there be some sort of panic button or line similar to 911 that riders can use if they feel threatened in a stranger’s car? Turns out there is, but Uber doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Inc. is reporting that the transportation company has been keeping an emergency response program under wraps since October. The Critical Safety Response Line is currently being tested in 22 cities, and part of the test is to see if people can find the number on their own on the app, which is why Uber has remained silent about the safety precaution.
The line connects both drivers and riders to centers located in Phoenix and Chicago. Dozens of incident response teams are standing by at all hours, and representatives are trained to call 911 if the caller is in immediate danger. “The line is not meant to replace a call to 911,” explains Inc. “An example a representative provided of use for the line was someone leaving insulin in an Uber car. In such a case, emailing customer support would provide too slow of a response, and but calling 911 might be extreme.” Uber has not released the locations where the line is being piloted, but the number was published on Quartz. If you ride Uber frequently, it might be wise to save it in your phone: 800-353-8237.
When you live in a big crowded city and use various types of public transportation, it’s also a good idea to carry pepper spray in your purse.
What do you think about the news of Uber’s secret safety hotline?