Uber says that it will take additional steps to screen drivers in Delhi as it petitions the city's government to allow it to resume operations. The new security measures come following the alleged rape of an Uber passenger by one of its drivers, which led to the service being banned under taxi regulations. Uber now says that it will hire a "local team of specially-trained safety experts" to ensure that its drivers aren't using forged documents. It also intends to implement some type of background screenings, though it does not say what those will be yet. The new measures appear, in part, to respond to criticisms that surfaced in a Fortune article discussing issues with police verification and forged documents in Delhi. Uber also intends to reverify all current drivers.
A lot of Uber's plans are vague for now
In addition to better screening its drivers, Uber is also providing some new safety features for its riders. For one, Uber is slightly enhancing its ShareMyETA feature — which has been available for over a year now — to include a photo of the driver when a rider in India chooses to share their trip information with a friend. That's in addition to the information that feature currently shares, which includes a live-updating map of your location, your driver's first name, and your vehicle's plate number. Uber also says that it is introducing a local incident response team, though it did not provide details on when this would launch or how passengers would be able to reach it. These features are only being made available in India for now, though Uber suggests that they may eventually roll out globally.
News also surfaced today about Delhi loosening restrictions on taxi upstarts, which some outlets believed would allow companies like Uber to move back into the city. Those changes appear to only impact taxi companies that use a radio dispatch, however, so it won't change the situation for Uber, which cannot operate until the Delhi High Court lifts its ban. "We are committed to working with the government to develop appropriate regulation based on a shared commitment to safety and a vision for how technology can improve the transportation environment in major urban areas in India," an Uber spokesperson says. Uber is already beginning to meet with the city's government, including speaking this morning with the Delhi Transport Department.
Update 12:20PM ET: This story has been updated to include comment from Uber and note that Uber will not benefit from the updated taxi rules. This story has also been corrected to note that Uber met with the Delhi Transportation Department today, not with the High Court.