How safe is Uber and Lyft?

Photo courtesy of ABC13 Eyewitness News
Photo courtesy of ABC13 Eyewitness News

Although many people are familiar with the latest transportation networks, non-users of the Uber and Lyft app may find the whole routine unsafe and trivial. In an age of advanced technology and communication, can one rely on a cellular application to ensure the safety of their own transportation?

The way these transportation networks operate begins with a destination in mind and a tap on your smartphone to send a request, summoning an Uber driver within minutes. After arriving at the chosen destination, there is no money or tip exchanged, just a simple goodbye and part ways as you continue the day.

What makes this system possible is trust. Both parties have a way to communicate or confirm with each other to ensure safety. The passenger is given the first name, license number, location and vehicle type while the driver is strictly given the location, without even the first name as due to a recent update in order to prevent cherry picking.

Junior Eric Dinh said, “I feel pretty positive about the safety considering that [Uber] run(s) background checks on drivers and drivers get rated by users. I haven’t seen much reports of anything bad happening during an Uber or Lyft ride so that’s a good note.”

It came as a surprise how easy it was to register as an Uber driver. David Fagin, a past Uber driver described the process as, “Nothing too complex, just submitting your registration, insurance, and license. The background check was more of a quick glance through my non-existent criminal history and I received my driver phone.” The driver phone, which only is designed to operate the Uber Driver app, gives the driver access to the features of an Uber Driver, to view hotspots, customers, and their location.

Although it may seem perfect, Uber and Lyft have seen its share of incidents. There is an entire webpage devoted to publicizing the number of deaths (23), sexual assault (217), kidnappings (10), impostors and assaults (57) when it comes to the driver and/or passenger. A reported list of incidents involving Uber and Lyft can be viewed on www.whosdrivingyou.org.

However, when compared to the number of trips taken in an Uber or Lyft vehicle since it’s beginning of operation from 2009, this small fraction of occurrences aren’t a great threat, considering there have been over 2 billion trips taken in just Uber alone.

These transportation networks can be useful and utilized for a variety of reasons, ranging from traveling without a vehicle to the lack of a designated driver. Sophomore Renjie Chen commented, “In my opinion, Uber is safe because when my family doesn’t have time to take me to a place, I will call Uber. Uber is like a taxi.”

Risks and dangers come with any activity one may be involved so always stay cautious and be alert.

Anthony Gabrie

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