Uber launches mask verification as part of new safety procedures

15May 2020
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Uber launches mask verification as part of new safety procedures

​​​​​​​Uber has announced its safety measures to help everyone who uses its app to stay safe and healthy.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

 “Over the last two months, Uber’s tech and safety teams have been hard at work building a new product experience that will help protect everyone, every time they use Uber,” it said in a statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Uber will use new technology to verify that all drivers are wearing a mask or some other face covering before taking a trip in Tanzania.

From next week, all Uber riders and drivers in Tanzania will be required to wear a mask or face covering when taking a trip. As part of a new in-app safety checklist, before drivers go online they will be asked to take a selfie to confirm that they are wearing a mask or face covering using new object recognition technology. Any driver not wearing a mask or other face covering will not be able to go online.

Drivers will also be asked to confirm if they’ve taken additional safety measures such as regularly sanitising their cars and making hand sanitiser available for their riders.

“Riders will meanwhile be required to take safety precautions like washing their hands before getting in the car, sitting in the backseat and opening windows for ventilation.

These new safety measures will be introduced on Monday 18 May and stay in effect until the end of June, when they will be reviewed based on the latest official health guidance available then.

Uber is also today allocating $50 million globally to help provide drivers with access to the personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and sanitising supplies they need to work more safely on the Uber app.

In Tanzania, Uber is locally working to provide masks to drivers and continues to provide tips on the app on preventing infection with Covid-19 while travelling with passengers.

In addition, Uber will partner with consumer goods company Unilever to provide hygiene kits to drivers and couriers in the UK, with plans to expand to more countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa soon.

The kits will include Cif (Jif) Antibacterial Multi-Purpose Spray and Lifebuoy alcohol-based hand gel.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “For months we’ve been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who continue to make essential trips. Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we’re taking unprecedented measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy, every time they use Uber. This includes working with partners like Unilever to help drivers, couriers and riders access the masks and hygiene kits they need to work and travel more safely.”

Unilever CEO Alan Jope meanwhile said: “As some countries around the world look to slowly ease out of lockdown, safe transportation will play a crucial role as we move into a new normal. And as people begin to venture out, we must collectively ensure that health and safety remains the absolute priority.  We’re pleased that by partnering with Uber, and providing our trusted hygiene products, Unilever is able to help keep drivers, couriers and riders as safe as possible.”

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