With Ridesharing On To Rise Again, Remember These Safety Tips

Before the pandemic lockdown, millions of commuters were booking Uber and Lyfts every day around the world.

Although most passengers made it to their destination safely, Uber’s 2019 Safety Report reported 58 deaths, 3,045 sexual assaults and nine fatal physical assaults out of a total of 1.3 billion rides in the US in 2018.

During the pandemic, ridesharing made a significant impact due to a drastic reduction in transportation and commuting needs. Uber reportedly lost $15.3 billion in 2019 and 2020, and Lyft lost $4.4 billion in the same period.

A new survey found that 15 percent of Uber and Lyft drivers give up on high gas prices. Passengers wait to board Uber vehicles at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on November 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama / Getty

Now that social distancing restrictions are beginning to end, ridesharing is on the rise again.

After Uber reported those numbers in 2019, the company launched new operations such as the Industry Sharing Safety Program, which shares information about sexual predators with other ridesharing companies in order to employ them as a driver or delivery person. Do not keep

Lyft updated its driver selection process with a more thorough background check. Checks include a Social Security number trace, a nationwide criminal search, a county court records search, a federal criminal search and a US Department of Justice 50-state sex offender registry search.

Lift Dayton Police
Four Dayton teenagers are charged with murdering a Lyft driver and robbing another driver at gunpoint.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Both companies require that their drivers do a preliminary background check before transporting anyone. Background checks that detect violent crimes, sex crimes, or other significant offenses disqualify an applicant.

Companies nationwide require driver applicants to submit a valid driver’s license, Social Security number and current vehicle insurance. Additionally, individual states may have additional requirements.

Recently, Uber introduced a PIN verification system to help prevent riders from getting into the wrong car. Riders can also call emergency services through the Uber app and use the optional audio recording feature if they feel unsafe.

Though both the platforms have put in place several safety measures, both the platforms urge passengers to take extra precautions before sharing the ride.

1. Request an indoor ride

Instead of hauling an Uber/Lyft outside, order your ride to limit the amount of time you don’t have to take your phone in your hand and monitor your surroundings. It also reduces the chances of you being taken under false pretense for a fake rideshare.

2. Does the driver confirm your name

Before boarding a stranger’s vehicle, confirm with them who they are picking up. Use phrases like “Who are you here to pick up?” and “are you here to pick up ___” and wait for a response instead of volunteering the information.

3. Sit on your back whenever possible

Whenever possible, sit in the back seat, especially if riding alone. This helps ensure that passengers can safely exit on either side and it creates some distance between you and the driver.

4. Use Intuition

Trust your instincts and use your best judgment when requesting a ride. If you feel unsafe, you can shorten one ride and request another. Customers can get a refund for the initial ride by going through the app’s help center.

5. Tell Someone Where You Are

When using ridesharing services, share your trip through the app or through other means so that a loved one is aware of your location.

Finally, ridesharing apps allow customers to review their riding experience. If you’ve had a good or bad experience, it’s worth leaving a review so others can see how a particular driver ranks compared to others.

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