Earlier this year we spoke with Uber Eats General Manager Ailyssa Pretorius regarding reports and allegations that driver partners were harassing customers.
At the time we said that Uber as an organisation needed to do more to address harassment and the wider issue of gender-based violence.
Today, we received word that the firm is doing just that through the introduction of mandatory safety education for driver-partners.
“Driver-partners will be required to watch educational videos aimed at fostering respectful interactions and setting clear boundaries about what is appropriate and what is not. Riders will also be sent the video through the app. Expanding driver education is another step in our efforts to put safety at the heart of everything we do,” Uber wrote in a press release.
The videos have been developed by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development. The content will feature lessons about respecting privacy and personal space and will showcase what a respectful interaction between driver and rider should look like.
While this might seem basic, in a country where police recorded 180 000 crimes against women in 2018/2019 (PDF), perhaps going back to basics isn’t the worst idea.
“Gender-based violence is preventable, and education can play a central role in enabling women and children to live in a world free of violence. We are grateful for our long standing partnership with Uber, and we believe that collectively we can make a difference. We stand in solidarity with those affected and will continue to use our voices to shine a light on GBV in South Africa so that more people are forced to listen,” a Nisaa spokesperson said.
As for riders, Uber added that the training videos will be accessible to them as well.
“Respect is a two-way street and Ubers messages around sexual misconduct are targeted to both drivers and riders. Throughout November and December we will invite riders to watch the video. Riders reported for sexual misconduct can have their access removed from the platform,” the platform said.
This is very good news given the reports we’ve seen this year and we hope that Uber adds to this training in future.