Millions of people rely on rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft for transportation. Whether you use these apps as designated drivers after a night out or rely on them for a portion of your commute, ridesharing can pose safety risks to you. Many Uber and Lyft passengers have reported instances of harassment, unsafe driving, and even assault while riding. To combat these risks and increase your personal safety, consider riding with someone or using a carpool feature when ridesharing.
Why Would Shared Rides Be Safer?
Multiple Uber and Lyft passengers have reported uncomfortable and unsafe interactions with their Uber or Lyft driver in the past. Some people have experienced sexual harassment and unwanted advanced by their driver. Others have experienced physical and sexual assault, verbal abuse, and other acts of violence. Usually, these riders are alone in the vehicle when this happens.
If you share your Uber or Lyft ride, you have a witness and a safe person available. A driver is less likely to behave in a violent or invasive manner if he or she feels as if someone else is watching. If the driver does do something questionable, the other passenger is there to act as a witness and to possibly intervene.
You can share your ride by using a carpooling feature or bringing someone with you on your rides. Carpooling could also be risky, because there may not be another passenger added to your driver’s route or the other passengers leave before you, leaving you alone. However, Uber and Lyft’s standard rides can both accommodate up to four other passengers.
UberPool and Lyft’s Shared Rides
Both Uber and Lyft have had options on their apps where you could request a ride with multiple other people. These carpooling options allow your driver to pick up multiple passengers at once, adjusting his or her route to various pick-up and drop-off points. These rides may take longer, but they are usually safer and cheaper.
However, Lyft and Uber have been phasing out their carpooling features in certain areas. Drivers report a high disliked for these features and many users have noticed these options suddenly disappearing from their apps. It is unclear whether Uber and Lyft intend to completely discontinue these services in the future or if they have plans to improve these features.
Lyft’s New Shared Ride Feature
While Lyft looks like it has been quietly discontinuing shared rides in certain areas, the company is planning on launching a new carpooling feature in the near future. Shared Saver will include carpooling at much lower fares than usual but will involve more walking and waiting.
You would request a ride in the app and wait a few minutes for the app to match you to an available Shared Saver driver. Once you receive this match, you will have to walk to a pickup location that could be a few blocks away from you. The driver will not drop you off at your destination – instead, you will have to walk a few extra blocks to where you need to go.
The walking and waiting portion of this feature are not as safe as Lyft’s original shared ride feature. If you are requesting a Lyft after a night out, walking alone in the dark can be very dangerous. Waiting alone outside for a long time for the app to pair you to a driver can also be dangerous.
For best results, try to use UberPool or Lyft’s shared-ride options where available. If these apps do not give you this option, bring someone you trust with you along on your ride when possible. If you have to ride alone, verify the details of the driver on your app before you get into the car and stay vigilant during your ride.
Taking proper precaution when using these ridesharing services is key to protecting yourself from harm. However, incidents of violence and accidents do occur in Ubers and Lyfts. If you are suffering from a physical, emotional, or financial injury due to an Uber or Lyft driver, contact an Uber sexual assault attorney as soon as possible.