Ridesharing is a transport option that is gradually being adopted globally and companies like Uber have undoubtedly made transportation a convenient activity. As an app based service, users can request rides from Uber cab drivers registered on the Uber platform. App based ridesharing has become an alternative to traditional taxis. However, the Uber service is not void of loopholes and passengers have to be on guard to be safe.
A number of rape and assault cases have been brought against various Uber cab drivers around the world. An India Uber cab driver was arrested for raping a female passenger in December, of 2014. In 2017, an Uber passenger in Virginia was abducted and sexually assaulted by an Uber driver after he picked her up. In California, an unconscious teenage girl was raped by an Uber driver a few feet from her home and was discovered by concerned relatives who used the tracking feature to locate the Uber. These cases represent a small percentage of the increasing number of assault cases brought against the ridesharing giant.
Despite the merits of Uber and how easy the service has made transportation, it is particularly important for passengers to be vigilant during trips and also to take advantage of all the Uber app safety features. Below are some precautions Uber passengers can take to ensure their safety:
Frantic last minute booking can make you careless. It is important to plan ahead. You can schedule Uber minutes, days and even weeks ahead. If the Uber scheduling feature is unavailable in your city, you can download the easy to use Kommen app. The kommen app is a third party app that can call Uber rides on your behalf after your initial log in with your Uber account.
Schedule rides up to 30 days away and get alerted once your ride is on its way. To learn more about Kommen visit www.trykommen.com.
Planning your rides ahead will give you time to focus on other relevant safety precautions to take.
Verify Your Driver and Vehicle details on the Uber app
The driver’s first name, photo, license plate number, picture of the vehicle and their driver’s rating is shown to every rider once a ride request is successfully placed via the Uber app. With this, passengers will be unlikely to fall victim to fake drivers.
Once the driver is outside, it is important to verify the car details and the driver should identify you by name and vice versa.
Request Your Ride and Wait Indoors
There is no point waiting outside for your Uber cab to arrive. This can make you anxious and a target for fake drivers. Wait indoors till the Uber app notifies you of the driver’s arrival.
Share Trip Details with Loved Ones
Uber has provided a feature within the app that allows riders share their trip details with loved ones. Details like ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) and route can be seen by whomever the trip is shared with. Hence, someone other than yourself can keep an eye on you during the trip and monitor your progress till you arrive at your destination. While en route, tap “Share status” in the app to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can see all these details without downloading the Uber app.
Seat at the Backseat
This helps create some personal space between you and the driver. This also makes it easier for you to exit the car when you want to.
Trust your Instincts
If something doesn’t feel right, just make your excuses and exit the vehicle. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Do not share personal details of your life with the driver. If during the ride you feel threatened in any way, call 911 immediately.
Overall, Uber has tried to help passengers feel safe by providing in app safety features. However, human resources can be really difficult to control or manage. The onus lies on all passengers to exhibit caution and stay alert before using an Uber.