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Uber Is Not Making Santa’s Nice List This Year
By: Jennifer Graber
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The Christmas season means Santa is going over his list and checking it twice. He has his elves working overtime making gifts and looking after everyone. Well, there is one company Santa does not even need to check on twice — Uber. Santa just knows that company has not had a good year in 2014.  
 
Uber is a transportation-based app that connects passengers to drivers in cities across the world. Drivers can even use their personal vehicles to provide a lower-cost and quicker alternative than most taxi services. To use the Uber service, a passenger connects to the app and requests a ride. Passengers have several options as to the type of vehicle they can select and can even request vehicles that are luxury class. The Uber website touts the benefits of the service as “one tap to ride,” “reliable pickups," “clear pricing,” “cashless & convenient,” and “split your fare.” Uber may want to rethink its strategy, and soon.
 
To say it has not been Uber’s year is probably a bit of an understatement. A few weeks ago, a driver in New Delhi raped a passenger. It was also recently discovered that an Uber driver in Boston allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a passenger. Unfortunately, the list of Uber issues does not end there. One of the app’s drivers in London allegedly offered to perform sexual acts on a passenger. The company’s response to that situation, you ask? It was to offer a small, meaningless credit.
 
Uber’s nightmares keep going. Allegations of price gouging are running rampant. There are stories of passengers being given the runaround — literally. A passenger in New York was taken on a crazy ride around the city in an alleged effort to drive up the prices and rates. Probably the most infamous tale of price gouging took place last week in Sydney. Following a hostage situation in Sydney, Uber jacked up its base rate to over $80 in surrounding areas. There are also the allegations that Uber is not as thorough with its background checks as it should be. The list could probably go on and on.
 
The brass at Uber have since come out and promised better all-around safety measures and features. For instance, Uber says that it will start utilizing stricter background checks and screening measures, like biometric and voice tools. The app will also begin to develop features that will allow users to immediately connect with the company during emergency situations. The app additionally plans to work with “partners with expertise” in various safety and transportation issues.
 
Uber has even more plans to increase safety features for the app. It has introduced a new alert within the app. The alert pops up when a user opens the app and is meant to serve as a reminder. The alert cautions users to be sure to identify they have gotten the proper driver. Uber users are urged to match up the driver’s name and picture with the information received via the app. Also, the alert reminds users to verify the license plate.
 
Honestly, these safety measures seem like they would have been a no-brainer from the beginning but, if nothing else, these terrible occurrences are bringing to light discussions on digital and real-world safety. How do these events affect your opinion on Uber? Will you utilize the app? Or wait to see how the new safety measures affect things?


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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