Uber believes that the recent incidents concerning its drivers is a learning opportunity, and has reiterated its dedication to providing a safe environment for both drivers and passengers. This comes after several incidents involving passengers who were robbed and molested.
According to Chan Park, regional general manager of Southeast Asia, only 0.01 percent of all Uber trips have some sort of tangible issue raised. He called the problems an anomaly within the system, and claims that Uber is already looking into ways to resolve them.
However, Park went on to say that the majority of rider experiences on the platform has been positive. Only eight percent of drivers have a rating of less than four stars; and Uber immediately suspends a driver for investigation in the event that his rating drops below that level. That is not to say that every driver is immediately dropped in the event that they fall below the four star standard.
The company did not respond to questions about how a driver with a criminal record managed to find his way into their driver programme. Park would only say that this is part of the anomalies, and that Uber is looking into how it can be prevented from happening again.
In all fairness, Uber does not perform its own background checks; and instead outsources the task. It is unknown if the driver in question fell through the cracks, seeing that nothing further was said on the matter.
Future background checks are set to be performed by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) once regulatory legislation is put into place.
Uber is working on behind the scenes initiatives to improve its safety record. Among these, is a collaboration with PDRM to promote the use of the Volunteer Smart Patrol app. This is a platform for the public to report crimes and suspicious activity directly to the police.
The company is also engaging with the relevant authorities for views on where it can further improve. Despite this, Chan could not say when Uber is planning on rolling out the panic button that is expected from all e-hailing services in Malaysia. Uber already has a similar panic button in India.