Uber is setting up an “open all hours” telephone hotline for passengers who want to make a complaint after a journey booked through the cab hailing app.
The move is part of a new package of reforms in the Silicon Valley giant’s “charm offensive” launched after Transport for London’s shock refusal to renew its licence to operate in the capital last September.
An appeal against that decision has been launched in the courts but London’s largest new private hire operator has also separately made a series of pledges to clean up its act under the leadership of chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
Today’s announcement means that passengers – as well as drivers – will have a number to call to report bad experiences or seek support. Previously the only point of contact with Uber was through the online app.
In a statement Uber said: ”Whenever there’s an issue like an incorrect cancellation fee, riders and drivers alike often find it’s easy and simple to get it sorted through the app. But drivers and riders have told us that they would like the option to give us a call, especially if something more serious happens.
“We’ve heard this feedback loud and clear and we’re now acting on it. For the first time in the UK, we’re going to launch 24/7 telephone support for both riders and drivers.
“We’ll be training and recruiting additional staff, including at our existing customer support centre in Limerick, before going live with this new service later this year.”
In another significant change Uber said it would in future give passengers details of their driver’s private hire licence number on their electronic receipt and booking confirmation. Uber said: “This means passengers can more easily raise any issues with the driver’s licensing authority as well as with Uber.”
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in the UK, said: “With millions of trips across the UK booked through our app each week, the safety of riders and drivers using Uber is a top priority.
The changes came as TfL said it would introduce regulations that will force all ride hailing apps to limit the time drivers work and turn over travel data to the Government. Uber says it already limits drivers to ten hours working before they have to go offline for at least six hours.