Ride-hailing company Taxify has boosted driver safety, with drivers now able to connect quickly and easily to private security response teams, emergency medical services and roadside assistance in the event of any medical or security emergencies.

The new safety feature comes about through an expansion of Taxify’s existing partnership with Namola in South Africa.

The initial partnership, announced in April 2018 and designed to alleviate some of the risks faced by Taxify drivers, saw the integration of an emergency SOS button into the Taxify driver app that shared drivers’ name, cellphone number, GPS coordinates, and vehicle details with Namola’s 24/7 Response Centre, when activated.

The integration, which has been rolled out to all Taxify drivers in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, has now been upgraded so that drivers can access rapid deployment of private security and emergency services. This is in addition to the initial capability of connecting with police, ambulance, and fire services.

“The safety of drivers and riders is our foremost priority and a responsibility that Taxify takes very seriously,” says Gareth Taylor, country manager for Taxify in South Africa. “The enhanced partnership with Namola will allow Taxify drivers to access fast deployment of the most appropriate emergency response should they find themselves in danger.”

The new feature expands Taxify’s growing portfolio of driver safety initiatives, which include safety summits, monthly round table engagements with drivers, weekly safety updates, rider verification, awareness of safety hot-spots, and hijack prevention training.

Taylor noted that Taxify secured the expanded partnership with Namola after drivers using its platform asked for an improved level of additional support when and if they were involved in any security incidents.

“The emergency SOS button is easily and quickly accessible to all drivers using the Taxify driver app. When drivers press the button, Namola guarantees a call-back within 90 seconds, allowing the driver to access immediate private security response support if it is appropriate,” continues Taylor.

“Namola’s Response Centre also alerts the Taxify high priority response team of any incidents and can liaise with the South African Police Service or other emergency services to send additional help to drivers that need it.”

The Response Centre also advises drivers how to respond and behave until the authorities arrive, helping them stay calm and take positive steps to stay safe if they are in a threatening situation.