Meet Lady Nadia Essex. She describes herself as a ‘hitch….., your ultimate wing woman……, the millionaire miracle woman….., the UK version of the millionaire match maker…..’. She provides a very special service for the more forlorn single ladies of London:
I am the real life ‘Hitch’. My job is to coach women on how to meet, marry, and keep their very own Prince Charming. I help women to fall in love and I am on the ultimate mission to bring back romance!
An unlikely person you might think then to step in and manage a critical a safety incident on Uber’s behalf today but that is exactly what she did when a rider reported to Uber that his driver was driving drunk. The good Lady wasted no time in offering practical assistance in real time on twitter to a distressed passenger.
She urged the passenger to get out of the car, terminate the journey, record the license plate and report the driver to the police because it’s #safetyfirst. Exactly right. I have zero sympathy for any private hire driver working under the influence. It brings the industry down and is a betrayal of public trust.
Safety is a hot issue for me and I have raised concerns at the highest level of Uber in the UK. I only wish I could tell you I was reassured that action would be taken to improve things.
But the curious part of today’s incident was Uber’s response. Uber don’t have a customer service telephone number which forces riders onto social media channels to look for help. When today’s distressed rider, Craig Johnson-Pass reported on twitter:
My @Uber driver is drunk OH GOD
To this @UberUKsupport replied:
This is absolutely not cool – please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can with details.
Craig promptly did this but an hour later complained on twitter that he had not had a reply to which Uber UK replied:
Many thanks for your patience Craig. Please allow up to 24 hours for our support team to respond.
24 hours? At this point there was an outpouring of incredulity on twitter. So this driver could remain on the streets of London carrying the public while paralytic on the busiest day of the week for the trade. Craig replied:
@UberUKsupport lol lets hope he doesn’t kill someone in the meantime.
Just last month Uber signed a partnership in the US with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to encourage those who have a had a drink or three to park the car and hail an Uber. This from Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD President:
We are proud to work with Uber on this important awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of drunk driving and to remind individuals nationwide to always designate a non-drinking driver. Thank you to the Uber driver-partners who are ensuring that riders have access to a reliable ride and for helping keep our streets safe this Fourth of July weekend.
It’s a good plan and generates incremental revenue for Uber but what if the driver is more drunk than the paying passenger taking all the precautions?
And yet Uber did promise in March that there was now 24 hour cover to manage serious safety risks and incidents. This from Phil Cardenas, Uber Global Head of Safety:
To quickly respond to safety incidents, we have created Incident Response Teams that are on call worldwide on a 24/7 basis. These are specially trained groups that investigate and respond to serious safety concerns that may occur. The teams are distributed in regions around the globe and are there for those critical moments when a rapid resolution is needed.
Well it’s time to step aside Phil. Arise Lady Nadia Essex because Uber London riders and drivers need you.