Ride sharing services are enormously popular and for the most part, they are great. The revolutionary platform’s ease of use, and relatively low prices encourages regular ridership. Unfortunately, what makes Uber and Lyft so popular—the pricing—also makes it dangerous.
Taxi drivers are professionals. In most jurisdictions they are employees of a company that requires all the drivers to be licensed, bonded, and insured. They are subject to regulations. Taxi drivers also drive a well-marked vehicle that is subject to regular inspections and routine preventative maintenance. Uber and Lyft Drivers are not required to carry professional transportation insurance, so if they get into an accident where you get seriously injured, you’re going to foot the bill on most of the medical expenses.
You can’t sign up to be a Taxi driver online, and because cabs are marked, you’re not going to be tricked into getting into a serial predator’s car, because you know you’re looking for a yellow cab. When you call a cab, you, the dispatcher, and the cab driver know who and where you are. They have no means of scouting you online. When you call up an an Uber or a Lyft, every driver signed into the ap knows who and where you are. It’s a predator’s dream. They can use your rideshare profile to check out your social media accounts, to see if you’re a potential victim.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a ride share service, but you need make sure the car you’re getting into is the car you ordered online. And since Ubers and Lyft are everyday vehicles you or I could drive, it can sometimes be difficult to tell. That plays into a predator’s advantage. We’ve seen it here in Columbus—people wander into a vehicle they think is their Uber when it’s really not. It happened just last week at OSU and a girl was assaulted.
You also need to pay attention to the driver and what they are doing. Being in a drunken stupor in a stranger’s car is never a good idea. Uber and Lyft maximize profits by minimizing their responsibility. They don’t have a thorough screening process for drivers. They manage problems after the fact. Because drivers are contractors, they have plausible deniability. A taxi cab service is doing a background check, calling references, and conducting an interview. It’s not perfect, but it’s a bit more proactive.
Uber and Lyft provide a great service, but you need to be aware of their shortcomings when it comes to your safety. How many stars is that worth?