The recent rise in Uber attacks have highlighted safety issues for both drivers and customers. The most recent attack saw Uber driver Kgomotso Tiro dowsed with a chemical and set alight. He sustained burns on his hands and face.
This has called Uber users to question what innovations are avaible for their protection. According to Jo Pullett, Senior Analyst at Independent Industrial Corporation, there are very few.
"Unfortunately, there is not a tremendous amount that can be done effectively."— Jo Pullett, Senior Analyst at Independent Industrial Corporation
According to Pullett, South Africa's history of taxi violence combined with Uber's history of protests against them by taxi services they've displaced is problematic.
When it comes to the actual safety of Uber drivers, Pullett says there are things that can be done, but they too have limitations.
"Uber could do much more to vet the riders, to stop potential attackers from setting up an account, summoning an uber and attacking the driver. They could limit route to safer ares, which is something they are already trying to do. But all of those things are fairly easily overcome if you are an attacker.— Jo Pullett, Senior Analyst at Independent Industrial Corporation
The real solution for Pullett is society's response to the violence. He says that we as a society need to feel secure we we don't and police need to step up to the plate to help patrol hot spots.
He adds that taxi companies need to realise that attacking the competition is not the answer to their problems.
"The taxi industry needs to accept that they are being displaced by a superior service, and consumers aren't going to back to them just because you are intimating a competitor. They only way to compete is to improve."— Jo Pullett, Senior Analyst at Independent Industrial Corporation
Listen to the full interview below: