Update: French government works to diffuse protests but disruptive demonstrations likely to continue |

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Uber releases features aimed at passenger safety

New safety-related features for Uber passengers are now in place. As part of its app, Uber passengers can summons 911 with a new icon located at the bottom right corner of the display. The app will then show the car’s exact location, so it can be provided to the 911 dispatcher. Uber is testing new technology in seven markets that would automatically share the car’s location with 911. Uber is also adding functionality that would allow passengers to share trip details to a “trusted contacts” list. Then, Uber said that instead of running a criminal background and driving history check on its drivers only upon hiring, it would expand the program to run driver checks annually.

In other news, the Turkish government decided to ban ride-hailing services such as Uber in order to protect its existing taxi system. Turkey joins several other countries including Bulgaria, Denmark and Hungary in banning the service. Other countries including France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Taiwan allow ride-hailing services only in limited circumstances. Meanwhile, Uber’s license to operate in London was not renewed last year, though it is still operating while it appeals the ruling.


Amtrak trials pre-assigned seats in Acela Express first class

Customers traveling in first class on Amtrak’s Acela Express trains operating in the Northeast corridor can now select their seats in advance. Passengers can choose single or double seats, an aisle or window, or a two- or four-person conference table. Amtrak officials said they will evaluate this new enhancement before expanding it to other routes.

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