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Uber announces new safety features for riders

Uber is launching new safety features, including an optional PIN that drivers must enter before rides start

MINNEAPOLIS — Kathryn Laulainen takes Uber almost every week.

She's never felt uncomfortable riding, but understands why others might.

"Absolutely," she said. "When you get in the vehicle, sometimes they don't say, 'is this so-and-so?' They're not asking for the name and you might not remember the name."

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After a frightening murder earlier this year and an investigation by the Washington Post into the company's safety investigative team, Uber announced on Thursday several new initiatives to keep riders safe. Those include:

  • An optional PIN system that would require a driver to enter your four-number PIN before the ride could start
  • An on-trip reporting system allowing riders to make complaints during rides instead of having to wait until the end
  • A 911 texting system, launching first as a pilot

The changes are welcome news for some drivers.

"You hear some horror stories and stuff like that, especially early in the morning or late at night," Ryan Lommen said. "You might as well put the safety precautions in place."

Kathryn Laulainen, meanwhile, says she hopes the changes will enhance that feeling of comfort for other riders who may be wary of the system.

"Oh, 100-percent," she said. "You just want to be safe." 

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