Safety in Rideshare Companies

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Pinkey Lam

Chloe Luk ’20 discusses her concerns about safety in Uber rides and how the new release of statistics could be beneficial.

The New York City MTA is often characterized as a dangerous mode of transportation at night. Thus, many of us who do not drive use an alternative method of transportation: rideshare apps. The use of apps like Uber and Lyft has increased considerably since 2015 as technology is making it easier for more companies to gain a larger user base. Uber is the oldest and most popular ridesharing app in the world. It first launched in 2010 and now provides services in over 200 cities to over 95 million users. Every day, there are over 3.1 million rideshares. However, one of the most prominent problems these rideshare companies have is safety. For the first time since its launch, Uber has released an 84 page report detailing sexual assault and rape incidents between drivers and passengers. Between 2017 and 2018, Uber reported 5,981 reports of sexual abuse. Between 2018 and 2019, Uber reported 3,045 sexual assault cases, 9 murders, and 58 deaths from car crashes in the United States alone. 

Although these numbers are shockingly high, the transparency of the company has been a bigger shock to most people. Releasing the statistics from these reports can certainly harm the reputations of rideshare companies like Uber. However, this transparency is a step towards increasing the safety of both passengers and drivers by raising awareness of the prevalence of sexual misconduct and casualties. The CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, commented that sexual misconduct is a societal problem and Uber has become a reflection of society due to its growing popularity. The company is taking steps to prevent future incidents. They have tightened background checks on drivers and made communication much easier by adding a feature for passengers to contact the police through the app. These measures have not yet proven effective, but they are certainly a step towards increasing transparency between the company and its 95 million users. Uber showed its prioritization of customer safety by releasing the report, despite the damage it could do to their reputation.

Many students at Bronx Science are frequent users of the app. “I use the app almost every day because of its convenience, and although I knew that there’s always risky situations, I had no idea how often it actually occurred.  I’m really glad that Uber released the report, because it’ll definitely bring more awareness and allow people to take more precautions like checking the license plate before actually getting into the Uber,” said Chloe Luk ‘20.

Uber is clearly taking the steps needed to increase passenger safety. Hopefully, other rideshare apps like Lyft and Via will be encouraged to do the same!

“I use the app almost everyday because of its convenience and although I knew that there’s always risky situations, I had no idea how often it actually occurred.  I’m really glad that Uber released the report because it’ll definitely bring more awareness and allow people to take more precautions like checking the license plate before actually getting into the Uber,” said Chloe Luk ‘20.

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