Ride-sharing isn’t exactly an industry that’s fraught with peril, but you can’t deny the gamble one takes every time a stranger steps into one’s vehicle. One company has a contingency solution to any potential problems: a panic button.
OkMe is an emergency services panic button designed specifically for Uber and Lyft drivers. When pressed, a text message with the driver’s current location and a prompt to alert authorities is sent to up to three selected contacts. The text also includes a link to a live map that will update with the driver’s location, allowing the selected contact(s) to keep authorities informed of your current whereabouts during the process.
Naturally, the idea behind OkMe is to provide drivers with constant access to safety services in the event of an emergency—particularly one in which reaching for the phone is impossible or impractical—by delivering your information to people you know you can trust. OkMe has also mentioned that a premium version of their app will link directly to police services, making the link between the driver and 911 even shorter.
There are a few minor snags in OkMe’s presentation—for example, only Android users can use the OkMe app for the time being, and the button’s battery lifespan is in question—but the overall consensus is that this is a welcome addition to any ride-share vehicle.
OkMe’s services include a fixed price for the button and a 99-cent-per-week charge for access to the OkMe app. That may sound steep given that ride-share services often end up making only a little above minimum wage, but it’s not too bad—forgoing one café cup of coffee a week would feasibly cover your app charges.
You wouldn’t be wrong to question the morality of making drivers’ safety a premium feature, and the chances that OkMe runs into some resistance along the way aren’t insignificant; however, your main takeaway from this product should be that add-ons which aid primary gig economy services are—and will continue to be—worthwhile investments. Gig enthusiasm is only growing, so any product which matches that momentum is most likely a safe bet.