To ease your anxiety over the disturbing frequency of sexual assault complaints, driver theft of passenger property and a recent shooting spree by an Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the revolutionary and somewhat shady ride-sharing app Uber has valiantly enacted an 800 number for rider use in emergencies. Less valiantly, the company did not announce the existence of this hotline until it was discovered by uber-frisky reporters.
The number, first reported by Quartz in February and confirmed by The Verge on a conference call this week, is 800-353-8237 or 800-353-UBER. The number is “only intended for non-911 related emergencies,” according to The Verge, but does at least put you in touch with a live human being.
“When Quartz dialed the 800 number today (Feb. 22) and stayed on the line as directed, the call was dropped almost immediately on one instance,” Josh Horwitz wrote last month in Quartz. “On the second instance, we were directed by an emergency response representative, who said the team works from two locations in the United States, but declined to answer further.”
The 800 number is being called a ”Critical Safety Response Line”, and routes your urgent but non-emergency calls to call centers referred to as “centers of excellence.” Considering the plight of Uber customer service reps, George Orwell would be very impressed with that wording.
A Business Insider report shows a screenshot of the Critical Safety Response Line feature and noted that it’s a test program available in only 22 US cities. “Kalamazoo was not one of the cities included in the test,” BI notes.
Uber stressed that the new 800 number is for non-emergencies, like leaving your medicine in an Uber vehicle. The company insists that actual emergency calls should still be routed to 911.