Uber Adding “Panic Button” To Mobile App In Chicago

A few weeks after announcing that Uber would implement a panic button feature in its app for users in India after allegations of rape against a driver there, the company now says it’ll be launching the safety feature in Chicago soon as well.

Uber’s Midwest Regional Manager Andrew MacDonald confirmed the button to the Chicago Sun-Times, but didn’t offer a firm time frame on when the feature would be available in Chicago, saying only it’ll happen in the “next several months.”

The news comes after two Uber drivers were charged in Chicago recently with sexually assaulting passengers. Riders can press the button to alert the police in case of an emergency, but that’s about the only detail of how the process will work.

As for whether the panic button will eventually be an option for everyone, Uber General Manager Chris Taylor couldn’t confirm if Chicago is the first U.S. city to test the feature, but said that”as it is perfected, it will become something that is more broadly used.”

Uber’s MacDonald points out that there’s another safeguard in place, mainly that both riders and drivers give personal information to Uber, and the whole trip is tracked by GPS.

“The reality of it is, if you have bad intent, an Uber trip is the worst place to commit a crime,”MacDonald said. “To put it crassly, you’re going to get caught.”

Uber panic button coming to its Chicago mobile app [Chicago Sun-Times]

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