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Uber, Grab open to having ‘SOS button’ on apps

 | June 10, 2017

Determined to improve safety, ride-hailing operators are encouraging their drivers and passengers to provide feedback to further improve their systems.

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PETALING JAYA: Ride-hailing operators Uber and Grab have given an assurance that they will work with the authorities to review and improve their safety features, including an idea to include an SOS button in their apps.

Grab Malaysia’s country head Sean Goh said the company is committed to cooperate with the government to ensure that Grab rides are safe.

“We have made much headway in safety, and based on a survey among our passengers, eight out of 10 female passengers feel safer since Grab was introduced,” he said.

He added that regional statistics indicate that the company has reduced traffic accidents in Malaysia by six times.

Grab is currently looking at using telematics and in-phone accelerometers to monitor driver’s speed and driving patterns, while reducing unsafe habits like sudden braking and lane-changing, he said.

Uber’s communications head Leigh Wong told FMT that they are currently reviewing their safety measures both in terms of technology as well as process.

“We will also be getting feedback directly from riders, driver-partners and other relevant stakeholders to further improve our systems and processes,” he said.

Yesterday, The Star reported that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will soon require ride-hailing operators to include an SOS button in their apps.

SPAD chief executive Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah was quoted as saying that the requirement would be made mandatory for both Grab and Uber.

However, he said there were no deadlines set for the implementation of this feature and discussions need to be held with the police on the matter.

SPAD has also requested for e-hailing operators to provide information about their drivers by June 16.

This comes after a spate of criminal incidents involving ride-sharing services over the past three weeks.

On May 21 a pregnant passenger was allegedly robbed by a Uber driver and his accomplice, causing her to suffer trauma and emotional stress that led to a miscarriage six days later.

Wong Mei Yan, 26, was reportedly robbed at knifepoint while taking a ride from Mid Valley to Puchong.

Another Uber driver in Selangor was arrested for investigation into the robbery of two teenagers, after he allegedly drove them elsewhere from their intended destination and left them stranded in Kajang last Sunday.

In a separate incident, a 42-year-old Vietnamese woman passenger claimed she was “ordered” to touch her Uber driver’s genitals after he flashed her during the ride in Penang on June 6.

Nurul Azwa contributed to this article

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