We welcome guest writer Andrew who is the founder of Rideshareowl, a great resource for all things rideshare that includes driver information, news, and promo codes for both riders and drivers.
Large Operations but Low Incidents
With all the negative headlines surrounding Uber recently, many riders and drivers have questioned the safety aspect of Uber. While it may appear that these incidents are becoming more prevalent, Uber has also been expanding at an extremely rapid pace. Critics should also consider the scope of Uber’s operations, the safety measures in place for users and the way in which Uber quickly reacts to negative incidents.
Uber is changing the transportation industry and industry changing technologies tend to make headlines – it’s as simple as that. People inherently do not like change, and if they can come up with a reason to discredit a new technology or service, they will. If a taxi driver got into an accident, it may not even make the local news channel! But because Uber gets so much media coverage, this translates into headlines from large media outlets just because people are willing to read it and because Uber searches generate so much web traffic.
Most people criticizing Uber do not realize that with operations in over 60 cities, Uber will never be immune from such incidents. However, when compared to the over 500,000 rideshare drivers currently in the US, the ratio of incidents to drivers is still staggering low. With the rapid expansion that Uber has undertaken the last few years, one would expect more incidents to have happened. However, this is not the case because Uber has unrivaled safety measures in place in order to prevent incidents before they happen.
First, all drivers undergo a rigorous background check that screens for felonies, sex offense crimes, and driving violations. In addition, all vehicles are inspected initially and then annually to ensure both rider and driver are safe throughout the trip.
Next, Uber drivers are safer than in a taxi because they always know who they are picking up. Each rider must input an email address, phone number, name, and birthday at account creation. This way, the driver knows exactly who they are picking up and the rider can be tracked down if any issues arise. Additionally, a valid payment method is held on file and we suggest this discourages riders from acting out and receiving a resulting charge.
Finally, all rider and driver movements are tracked via GPS. While some taxis are equipped with this feature, not all of them are, so in this regard riders and drivers are safer in an Uber. A GPS-based ETA can also be shared with others, so riders can ensure their whereabouts will always be known.
Uber or any other rideshare companies will never be immune from incidents given their rapid expansion. However it is worth noting that given their size and rapid growth, they have a great safety record since beginning operations. Uber has great safety measures in place for both the rider and driver, and they continue to improve the safety of their current platform each year. When compared to a taxi ride, I think it’s safe to say Uber’s safety platform is unrivaled.
We wanted to see how uniform the background check process that Lyft and Uber employed was. We asked Pulse users. Here is what they said:
So it appears that the process varies and could take anywhere from a couple hours to a couple weeks, but what is pertinent is to note that no one had stories about being rejected. Part of this is probably selection bias – only drivers who are approved by rideshare companies use Pulse- but its interesting to note none the less!
Photo Credit: Uber