In order to ensure the safety of its passengers, ride-hailing service Uber is fully implementing the option of providing a personal identification number (PIN) code to their driver to make sure they would not get into the wrong vehicle.
Uber PIN Code: How to Know if Trip is Verified
Passengers in the U.S. and Canada can now activate this feature in the Settings menu of the Uber app, requiring PIN verification for every ride, or at a certain time of the day--such as night trips from 9pm to 6am, Engadget revealed.
If the feature is enabled, a trip can't begin without the driver entering the code before the passenger enters the vehicle and verbally gives the PIN. If the PIN code matches with the driver's app, the passenger will receive a notification saying. "Your ride is verified." However, this is an optional feature only for users who enable it.
How to Activate PIN Code in Uber App
Here are the five steps to enable the PIN code in the Uber app, courtesy of the Uber blog:
1. Ensure that your Uber app is the latest version. If not, update it.
2. While in the app, go to Settings and choose Verify your rides.
3. Choose "Use PIN to verify rides" to turn it on.
4. Then, select if you want the PIN code security feature enabled "Every ride" or "Only at night."
5. Then Choose Done.
Uber's New Safety Precautions Due to Death of Student
This new feature comes after the death of 21-year-old student Samantha "Sam" Josephson, who was murdered in March last year after riding a vehicle of a man who masqueraded as an Uber driver. Josephson's body was later discovered in the woods, about 65 miles away from where she entered the vehicle.
Since that gruesome murder, U.S. states had sought additional safety requirements for Uber drivers, the Chicago Tribune reported. Josephson's state, New Jersey required Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing services to have their drivers display identification signs on their vehicle's front windshield and rear window. Meanwhile, lighted signs are mandatory in North Carolina for Uber or Lyft drivers to display.
Apart from the PIN code, Uber passengers can check the license plate, make and model of car.
Uber had long cautioned passengers to always check and confirm license plate numbers and the make and model of the cars before they ride it. Some passengers, however, ignore such ride information, heigthening the risks to their safety. Since Josephson's death, Uber has been reminding passengers about strictly checking those vehicle data, which is available in the app when they book a ride.
With the PIN code, another layer of security is offered to assure passengers that they are hailing the right car.
Uber and competitor Lyft had long encountered safety problems with their services. In December last year, Uber revealed that 464 people had been raped while using their ride-hailing services from 2017 to 2018. Lyft had faced legal action from women who claimed the company did not act on their complaints of being assaulted by their drivers.
On the other hand, a bill has been filed in the U.S. Congress that if enacted would require ride-hailing drivers to present quick response (QR) codes that a passenger could scan with a smartphone to verify the ride, the Chicago Trubune further reported. It also prohibits the production and sale of Uber and Lyft signs, unless those had come from the ride-hailing companies themselves.