The effect of the global pandemic on Uber had a major juxtaposition – its ride-hailing service saw a massive drop in ridership while its food delivery service grew at massive rates. As a result, the company brought new safety measures to protect the drivers and customers alike. Even so, new risks came to the fore as its number of delivery drivers on the road increased – many more accidents.
Uber South Africa is responding to a new report that showed a lack of training and safety equipment was an issue, and the poorly advertised and often insufficient insurance cover negatively affected drivers.
“As a business, we prioritise the safety of everyone who uses our app and we work hard every day to be the best we can be, but there is always room for improvement,” said Samantha Fuller, spokeswoman for Uber in sub-Saharan Africa. “We will be running more education campaigns in May and June… We will be looking at the engagement channels we use for this and how we can better make sure key information gets to our delivery partners. We’re committed to doing the right thing and take on our part of the responsibility to better safety in the industry,” said Fuller.
The report came from interviewing 27 drivers, all of them migrants and involved in accidents. While this isn’t a statistically significant sample, the results and outcomes are still being handled seriously. A further concern is that many drivers don’t even report their incidents as they are foreign nationals and concerned about their status in the country. Lawyers and rights groups said insurance policies did not do enough to protect drivers, capping medical coverage to 180 days, and requiring drivers to spend 48 hours in hospital before qualifying for lost wages.