Chicago Uber drivers say they support rider verification program launched today

Jason Knowles Image
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Chicago Uber drivers say they support rider verification program
Chicago Uber drivers say they're happy about the new blue check verification program launched here and in 11 other cities today to enhance safety.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Uber drivers said they are happy about a new rider verification program launched in Chicago and 11 other cities today.

The new program puts blue checkmarks on a rider's account after verifying their identity by cross referencing an Uber riders' name, phone number or credit card to help prove they are who they say.

Uber drivers in Chicago said seeing a blue badge on a rider's account will give them peace of mind at a time when drivers have been at risk.

READ MORE: Uber rider verification rolls out in Chicago, 11 other cities Thursday to increase security for all

"This is actually a very good idea because before it's not safe at all in Uber to be honest," said driver Hicham Mafhoum. "Yes, this is better than before."

Other drivers said they felt similarly.

The program comes several months after Uber drivers protested at Uber's hub in West Town, demanding more safety tools after a driver was shot and killed on the job in December.

Uber confirmed the alleged shooter, who was charged with murder, was one of the passengers in the car.

"The bottom line is we have a message for criminals who want to do harm, and that is it won't be on Uber," said Heather Childs, Uber's Chief Trust and Security officer.

Childs exclusively broke the news to the I-Team Wednesday night that riders could now start seeing this blue verification checkmark on their Uber accounts.

"Criminals want to remain anonymous. They want to hide because they don't want to be caught when they commit crimes. So by adding this extra layer of transparency and confirmation and verification that we know who riders are, we hope to make the platform more safe," she said.

Uber said the majority of people will automatically get verified by using the information already in their account, and do not need an ID. However, if those tools can't verify a rider then you would have to upload a government ID, license or passport get verification.

If you don't want to do that or don't have an ID, you could still ride on Uber but a driver could decide to not pick you up.

"Now we can chose as the driver, we can chose if not verified, to not pick up the guy or customer," said Mafhoum.

Uber said it believes more riders overall will get picked up with verification badges because drivers will go to neighborhoods where otherwise may not normally.

This new verification process will not be used yet on Uber Teen accounts. If and when it is implemented on Uber Teen, the parent's account information would be verified.