The rise of rideshare apps has made the taxi or ride-for-hire market more competitive and accessible. It has provided people with more options, even in markets without well-developed taxi cab systems.
Rideshare apps also allow people to go from place to place without researching new companies for transportation every time. They offer a lot of convenience for professionals and those traveling for pleasure, as well as those who don’t own a car or can’t drive.
However, a fleet of independently-owned vehicles comes with a unique set of risks for both of the companies connecting people with ride services and the passengers in the vehicles. What are the biggest risks for passengers using rideshare services?
Mistaken identity may be the biggest safety risk
Those hoping to commit a crime might intentionally pose as a rideshare driver to get people into a vulnerable position. They might drive around after a major event or during busy bar hours on the weekends and pull up to the curb to waiting people, acting like they were the ride someone ordered.
These drivers could have nefarious purposes in mind, which is why it is crucial for riders to verify the identity of the driver and to match their vehicle to the description provided by the app before entering the vehicle.
The person driving the vehicle may be the biggest risk
Some of the scariest things you might hear about people getting into a rideshare vehicle involve acts of violence and robberies. In 2018, at least 3,045 people experienced sexual assault in rideshare vehicles, according to figures released by Uber. The true number is likely are higher, especially when you factor in different services.
Additionally, some people find themselves the victims of property crimes while in a rideshare vehicle. There were nine fatal assaults inside Uber vehicles in 2018.
Rideshare systems typically mandate insurance coverage
Crashes are always a risk when you ride in a vehicle, but there should be insurance to help protect you. Drivers and their vehicles have to meet certain qualifications to participate in rideshare programs. They have to maintain a certain standard of rating among people who have hired them and keep their vehicles and paperwork compliant.
Drivers may find themselves in difficult situations if they need to make a claim against their policy but don’t carry rideshare insurance. However, riders who wind up in a vehicle without adequate coverage still have options. They may be able to bring a lawsuit against the individual driver or even the rideshare company involved. There could also be insurance available through the company, which means that anyone hurt in a rideshare crash will need to look into their options carefully.