The 5 things you need to check before getting into an Uber in South Africa

Uber has been in the spotlight following a number of high-profile violent incidents in South Africa.

With the company now facing a possible class-action lawsuit, Uber has released new information detailing how it screens its drivers and a checklist of items to consider before getting into the car.

“You have requested your Uber ride and as you see the vehicle pull up, you make sure to check that the registration plate, vehicle colour and model matches what is in your app. Before you jump in, you have asked your drivers name and checked the in-app photo which you click into and enlarge the driver photo,” it said.

“Now that everything matches you are ready to hit the road but now you wonder who exactly is the person behind the wheel who is going to be driving you?”

“All Uber drivers and their vehicles are pre-screened, reassuring you with the knowledge that you are being transported in quality and vetted vehicles by professional drivers.”

It outlined this screening process below.


Professional Drivers Permit (PrDP) 

One of the first steps to becoming a driver is ensuring they have submitted a valid PrDP which is issued by the traffic licensing department.

We check this directly against the traffic licensing department’s database, Uber said.

“Part of this permit includes a criminal background check, meaning your driver has undergone police clearance in order to obtain this permit from the licensing department.

“In addition to this, we assure you that all drivers hold an operating double disc which they received from the licensing department, this indicates that their vehicle is allowed to move you from A to B.”


Automated Fingerprint identification systems (AFIS)

Next, before the driver can get out onto the road is the fingerprint identification system check, Uber said.

“We have made sure that all drivers have undergone the AFIS checks. Unlike the Professional Drivers Permit, this secondary background screening is not a legal requirement, but mandated and managed by Uber to further increase safety, it is conducted by a third-party professional who leads the industry.”


Vehicle inspection

When you jump into the backseat, you can be confident that the vehicle you have boarded has passed an inspection test to ensure it is roadworthy, Uber said.

This is done at Uber’s Approved Inspection Centre and we make sure it is done annually. Again this test is not a legal requirement, but an additional safety requirement from Uber.

“Upon registration, all drivers submit their Roadworthy Certificate that corresponds with the registration number of the vehicle saved on their Uber profile.”


Driving Skills

“You can be at ease that your driver not only has a Professional Drivers Permit, but has also passed a third-party driving evaluation test which tests the driver’s ability to drive safely and according to road regulations,” Uber said.


Protection

Before a driver-partner is activated and is able to operate on the app, Uber said that it invests time to take drivers through an information session at our various Green Light Hubs (onboarding centres) across all cities that we operate in.

“Part of these sessions involves tips on how to give the best customer service to riders and explains Uber’s Community Guidelines which clearly indicates what behaviour is and isn’t appropriate on the app for both riders and drivers.”

Uber said that it is also working every day to reduce incidents through improving and introducing safety features such Real Time ID Check, Trusted Contacts, In-App Emergency Button and 24/7 phone support.

“You will also be happy to know that from the minute your trips start till the trip ends, you and your driver are covered by insurance in the event of an accident or incident giving you extra peace of mind,” it said.


Read: Uber faces class action lawsuit in South Africa following violent attacks

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The 5 things you need to check before getting into an Uber in South Africa