Uber and the AA are both in the business of helping people travel safely from A to B. This crisis has meant both the AA and Uber have had to prioritise safety more than ever before.
As the country once again finds itself in lockdown, Uber is again telling people to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel. However, essential trips are taking place, and vehicles on the road are still breaking down – in fact AA evidence suggests batteries may be failing at a higher rate because of reduced vehicle use.
Operating during a pandemic has meant introducing a whole raft of changes quickly. The AA has ensured that 500 AA Prestige garages around the country could stay open for essential servicing throughout local and national lockdowns. To date, Uber has distributed over 1.7 million free masks and hand sanitizer to drivers and riders across the UK and teamed up with Unilever to provide free hygiene kits, complete with Lifebuoy sanitiser and Cif cleaning spray and wipes.
We have both adapted and innovated to improve safety. Uber has rolled out new technology to verify that a driver is wearing a mask before being able to accept trips, through a simple selfie. Together with the AA, we installed hundreds of partition screens in drivers’ cars as part of a pilot in the north of England. We have both also introduced training and materials to garages, dedicated AA support staff and drivers who use the Uber app with best practice procedures for challenges like vehicle sanitisation.
The AA is proud to have rescued 7,500 NHS workers as part of a free breakdown offer. In addition, 200 of the AA’s own personnel supported ambulance services around the country in maintaining ambulance fleets. Uber provided over 200,000 free rides and 100,000 free meals for NHS workers at the height of the pandemic.
Uber also rolled out Uber Medics – subsidised rides for all NHS and care home workers, a product that we relaunched this month. These initiatives reflect the wider commitments of AA and Uber’s businesses and the value of partnership in getting everyone to where they need to go as safely as we can.
Together, Uber and the AA are focussed on helping keep towns and cities moving safely. The pandemic has forced us to challenge ourselves to focus on what we do best. To collaborate. To innovate and adapt. To work out how our businesses and our relationships with drivers and customers can help tackle the most important issues. It’s a lesson we’ll take with us.