Uber Kenya has now introduced Phone Anonymization, a new in-app contact feature that will allow both passenger and driver to keep their numbers private whenever they need to get in touch. The new feature will see the phone numbers, of both the rider and driver anonymized thus none will be able to see the other’s contact details.
Despite the driver and rider not being able to see each other’s contact details, they will still be able to communicate through the in-app support system. In the system, instead of their actual contact details appearing, the numbers of both driver and rider will appear as landline numbers. In order to access the in-app support, one will tap on the Uber icon within the app then navigate to the help icon and once they tap on it they will get assisted.
According to Loic Amado, general manager Uber East Africa, the new feature is meant to bolster confidence and security for its over 5000 drivers and 400,000 users in the region.
“The benefit of using our in-app support is two-fold. Riders have access to 24/7 support in the event that they need assistance (no more calling a driver that cannot be reached due to the driver being on the road). Secondly, this change has the added benefit of keeping a formal track record of communication. Uber will have a record of correspondence to assist with a request, for example, in the event of a rider having left an item in the vehicle,” said Mr Amado.
In addition, the system also includes an integrated messaging system within the app. The system is meant to prevent users from getting messages through other applications, without context and information on where the message is originating from.
Despite the feature being new in the region, it has been used in other countries such as USA and South Africa as well as in other emerging markets. The move came in days after the Transport principal secretary, Paul Maringa signed a memorandum of understanding between e-taxis and the drivers’ lobby Digital Taxi forum to ensure taxi apps review their rates.