The recent kidnapping and killing of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, brought attention to this problem front and center in almost every news publication/station/online/etc. What about the many other violent assaults and deaths that have plagued Uber/Lyft Drivers and Passengers this year though? Why didn’t these deaths get the media attention like this one?
What happened to Samantha Josephson was a tragedy, and another major call for safety to the Rideshare Giants. We saw a petition calling on Uber and Lyft to add QR codes on ride-hailing cars so users can confirm the drivers inside are, indeed, legit. The QR codes will just cause more confusion, and really don’t fix any of the problem. So the passenger has to get within reaching distance of the driver to scan the QR code? Is this helpful? Personally I see this as a waste of time, and even potential danger to the passenger by having to get close to the driver being questioned.
One thing that absolutely helped was reminding passengers of some simple safety checks to do before getting in the vehicle. Look at the vehicle’s license plate, make and model, and match it to the data provided by the app. Ask the driver “What’s my name?” instead of “Are you here for [your name]”? If the driver doesn’t say your name, DO NOT get into the vehicle. The tip has sparked the safety campaign #WhatsMyName. This is clearly what everyone should do, every-time you get into any Uber or Lyft.
There is one more safety issue that has sadly been overlooked, and its a BIG one!
Most passengers do not know what drivers see when picking up a passenger. While the passenger has multiple ways to verify its the correct ride, drivers do NOT have the same luxury. We see the passengers profile picture and name only. While this should be enough information, lets look at why its NOT! Both Uber and Lyft are guilty of not requiring a profile picture, in fact with both these platforms MOST people do not have a profile picture at all. To add to the problem, many riders do not use their real names. Almost every pickup a driver does has no picture to verify the passenger is the right person. Don’t forget that along with the countless ‘no profile pickups’, many passenger pickups have made up names. Clearly a serious lack of safety concern on the part of Uber and Lyft!
Outraged yet? We drivers are too…..
Just like the #WhatsMyName campaign, we drivers need help getting these rideshare companies to integrate required passenger picture and real first name. This will make all rides safer for passengers and drivers! So, why won’t Uber and Lyft integrate this simple fix feature? If you don’t know why, don’t worry, we drivers don’t know why either? Both companies claim “safety first”, but this clearly shows that is not the case. Let’s all work to push for better rideshare safety, before another death occurs!