Uber is upgrading the precautions it takes when operating in India as it battles to be allowed to restart operations in Delhi. The company should find out its fate soon, with a hearing scheduled for today.
The company has been under fire in the country since a Delhi woman was alleged to have been raped by an Uber driver who had previously been reported to the company for sinister behaviour.
The new features being rolled out include ShareMyETA, which allows a person getting a lift to share the details of the trip such as the driver’s name and their real-time position, with loved ones.
Uber is also re-verifying drivers and carrying out more stringent background checks, which it describes as going “above and beyond” requirements. Questions remain about the quality of such checks, however. The full list of changes can be read here.
The police had said that Uber's background checks were insufficent, as the man accused of the rape had previously been accused of a similar assault. This is one reason why Uber has pledged to redo it's tests.
In the statement Saad Ahmed, head of marketing for Uber Delhi said:
The safety of our riders and drivers is the highest priority for us; not only for the rides we enable in New Delhi and across India, but also for the [over] 1m trips we are facilitating around the world everyday.
Despite the checks, some remain unconvinced. Many in India view background checks as worthless and police checks equally insufficient. The Guardian quotes a blogger, Sriram Krishnan, who works as an engineer for Facebook as the tests are not stringent enough:
The idea of Uber doing background checks and “filtering out” this driver with an arrest record is laughable for anyone who has dealt with government records in India. First, there is no reliable way to run a check on someone in most parts of the world and second, even if they did, a small bribe in the right place will fix most records.