We have all heard the stories. A passenger is assaulted, raped on the way home. While this does happen, there are some steps you can take to ensure you do not become a victim.
It should be noted first and foremost that if you are matched with a female driver, that is your best bet. Especially if they show up in a VW or Toyota.
1. You get what you pay for
In your app, you have several options to choose from. A driver with a vehicle that qualifies for Lyft Lux or UberSelect is likely not only more responsible with their money and credit, but very well have a spouse (co-applicant) already that satisfies their sexual desires. UberBlack/SUV drivers work the same way, but are most likely working for a limo company and do this full time. Your Lux/Select drivers likely do this for extra money and would rather not risk their regular lives, careers, ambitions over a rider.
I have never came across a story of a Lux/Select/XL driver being accused of sexual assault. If you have, please provide a link below in the comments section.
If a driver shows up and a raggedy car, dents all over, bumper falling off etc, even if it is a newer car, you should go ahead and cancel. Not only is it against the terms set forth in our contracts with Uber and Lyft, it shows a lack of responsibility, a lack of pride. It can also mean that driver let their insurance lapse and you may not be insured on the ride.
2. Ratings Matter
When you are first matched with a driver, you get their name, their license plate, their profile picture and most importantly their rating.
As a driver, it is very hard to get below a 4.9. You would consistently need to be rated low to get below a 4.9. If a driver has below 4.9, you should reconsider getting in that vehicle. If they have below 4.85, you should strongly reconsider, especially if you are reading this post because you are worried about being taken advantage of.
What you also need to understand is Uber and Lyft do not meet drivers in real life before contracting them. This means, no driving tests, no “this driver is staring at my boobs the whole time”, etc.
Ratings can mean a number of things, from bad vibes to dirty cars. Either way, if the driver is below a 4.9, it is a no go for me.
Remember the Lyft Lux and UberSelect statement I made earlier? If a driver does not have a 4.85 rating or higher, they are not allowed to those rides. Why they are allowed for UberX? Beats me. I have never heard of a Lux/Select/XL driver being accused of sexual assault/harassment. If you have, please leave a link below so I may update this post.
3. Pay Attention. Double Check. Verify.
As a driver, it catches me off guard till this day, after 5 years when someone looks at my license plate and verifies on their app that my license plate matches. This shouldn’t be abnormal. Every rider should at least check the license plate. There are predators outside of Uber and Lyft, trying to pick up victims this way, and sometimes they do succeed, as in the case of Samantha Josephson.
So do you ask for my name (the drivers name)?
No! Check my license plate! If the license plate matches, the app, please introduce yourself, and I will introduce myself, at which point you can verify my name.
I will let you in on a little secret:
Drivers ONLY have your name to go by! Do you think we want to pick someone random up off the street? No, best case scenario, we kick that wrong rider out and nothing happens to us. However, we do not get paid for that ride as we didn’t pick up the right rider. We are obligated to cancel your ride and not charge you.
However, you, as a rider, have our name, our license plate, make/model and color of our vehicle, and our photo.
WE ONLY KNOW YOUR FIRST NAME.
“Hi, I am Katy, Are you my Uber driver?”
“Yes, I am Christopher. Please, get in.”
See? Now you know my name and hopefully you have verified that my license plate matches your app, as well as the car.
There is no excuse why the license plate should not match. Some driver will give reasons like, “I forgot to change the car on the app, I forgot to update license plate, my car is in the shop and this is a rental”…. all red flags.
Sure some of these reasons maybe legitimate, but if something were to happen, Uber and Lyft will not be able to tell you which car it happend in. The police will be looking for the wrong vehicle, if you were kidnapped. It is not good. (just FYI, only rentals approved on Uber and Lyft are the ones they add to the app). Uber and Lyft Insurance also does not cover you if the vehicle was not covered because they did not have that vehicle active on the app at that time.
Are Child Locks Rape Locks?
No. No matter what any Twitter celebrity says, If a driver has a child lock activated, there is a really strong chance they are just a caring parent that forgot to deactivate them. (I have been guilty of this myself). If you really want to check them, please do so, it saves me from getting out later. However, please do this BEFORE you shut the door. There is often a latch when you open the door that you can see. (some newer models are electric, so you won’t have a way of telling, until you try to open the door). If there is a child lock because that driver wants you to become a victim, you are not getting out after that door is shut. (of course, hopefully you have your cell phone, the same one you ordered with that you can call or even text 911).
Of course, if you get that creepy feeling, by all means cancel the ride. Always go with your instincts. A $5 cancellation fee outweighs becoming a victim, in my opinion.