Uber rolls out new safety feature in Boston, Austin

undergo fingerprint background checks, while as recently as last month, Austin City Council received letters from two groups that argued such fingerprinting is a form of discrimination. Now, Uber has rolled out a new feature in the Texas capital, where riders can send their ride information to their friends via their smartphones. The feature, called SafetyNet, expands on Uber’s recently launched ShareMyETA, in that it allows riders to select up to five contacts from their phones, and those contacts will be provided with details about the ride, the vehicle and driver, and a GPS tracker so they can see your location as you travel. This feature was also recently introduced in Boston. Lyft’s ride-sharing service has a similar feature in its app, called Share Route. Uber passengers do not have to use the same contacts over and over, either. They are allowed to choose who they want to receive the itinerary for each ride. Meanwhile, later in December the Austin City Council is expected to debate and vote on a variety of safety regulations related to ride-share services, some of which are so stringent that it may preclude Uber from operating effectively in the city. The measures to be voted on include rules about where drivers can and cannot pick up riders, whether the vehicles should undergo inspections above and beyond those required for Texas residents, and of course, the fingerprint background checking.]]>

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