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New alert in Uber app focuses on safety features

The Uber checklist as shown on an Android device.Screenshot

The transportation service Uber has added a prominently-placed list of rider precautions to its smartphone application, a move it says is intended to remind customers about existing safety features in the wake of reported assaults recently linked to ridesharing.

Area police this week have described four separate reports from women who said they were indecently assaulted after hailing rides with services including Uber. The company has said it is concerned about riders being picked up by rogue drivers.

A man accused in one incident has worked for or Uber through its uberX service, a lower-cost option in which drivers use their own vehicles, but it’s not clear whether he used information he accessed through Uber to target the woman.


READ MORE | BetaBoston: After incidents, Uber promises safety upgrades

The Uber safety alert issued this week pops up when the application opens, and reminds users to confirm that the license plate number of the vehicle that picks them up matches the information provided through the application. Same for the name and picture of the driver.

Finally, it encourages users to contact customer support through e-mail if there are any problems.

“No one should hail or get into any vehicle on the street that is not a clearly identifiable pre-arranged transportation provider or licensed taxi, and that’s why Uber has safeguards built right into the app that bring additional layers of safety and security to getting a ride in Boston,” spokesman Taylor Bennett said in a statement Friday.

Previous coverage:

Police offer tips on Uber, other services after assaults

Uber driver is accused in rape, kidnapping of customer

Women in two sexual assaults used Uber

After attacks, safety tips on hailing a taxi

Andy Rosen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @andyrosen.