Emergency hotline set up for Uber drivers in KL

PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA - Uber has come up with a hotline for its drivers in the Klang Valley to call in an emergency, as some have faced taxi-related violence in recent months.

The move is aimed at ensuring that its drivers will have someone to turn to should they run into any trouble.

Uber's Global Trust head Bhav Bhasin said its drivers had faced violence in "a couple of incidents" in Kuala Lumpur and Johannesburg.

"In South Africa, we piloted a dedicated hotline and first responder network," the US-based executive, who was in the country for a visit, told reporters here.

With the hotline here, which began in early November, Uber will get in touch with law enforcement agencies upon receiving a call.

This year, there have been several incidences where a number of ridesharing drivers have been harassed by taxi drivers, most notably at the KLCC shopping centre in October.

Taxi drivers stopped seven ridesharing drivers there over a period of two days. Three of them were supposedly handed over to police.

A video shared on social media then showed taxi drivers shouting at some Uber or GrabCar riders to get out of their rides.

Taxi drivers in the Klang Valley have claimed a loss of income, blaming services such as Uber and GrabCar for taking away their passengers.

Bhav however declined to say how many incidents there were thus far, though an Uber official claimed the number was "immaterial".

This hotline, Bhav said, was also introduced in Latin America.

"After it started, the number of taxi-related incidents dropped," he said.

On another matter, a feature Uber is working on bringing here is phone number masking.

Bhav said with this, neither the Uber driver or rider would be able to see each other's phone numbers during a call.