Collegiette Struggles: Asking the Question: Is Uber Safe?

Uber started operating in Puerto Rico on July 11th, 2016. It’s become way more popular than regular taxi services on the island. Many people use it on a daily basis to get to work, college, or even a friend’s house. It’s efficient because it’s quick and easy to use. It’s a great way to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.That being said, to what extent are Uber passengers safe?

It’s no secret that Uber drivers are people who drive their own cars, they just get paid to do so. While they do have to fit a few qualifications in order to work for the company, there aren’t many, and they have no real supervision while on the clock. This means that not only are the passengers exposed to more danger, but the drivers are as well. When an Uber ride is completed, the driver and passenger both rate each other. Even though a passenger might have 5 stars, they could be having a bad day and the driver could, unfortunately, pay for it. There have been several cases in the United States where passengers have attacked drivers. When a passenger gets in the car, the driver has no way of knowing if they’re even carrying a weapon.

When it comes to cab drivers, they have to fit certain qualifications in order to work, such as a clean criminal record, good hygiene, and even a taxi driving training, amongst others. When it comes to Uber drivers, they really just need to have their own working car. This means that anyone with a car could be behind the wheel, so you, as the passenger, are exposed to all kinds of scenarios. I use Uber constantly, and I’ve encountered drivers who have not spoken a word to me, others have been extremely friendly, and others have even asked me for my phone number. I’ve had drivers who are students, like me, and others who are my grandparents’ age and just want something to do on the side. While this inconsistency could be fun, it’s also extremely dangerous.

Not too long ago, one Uber driver somehow found me on Facebook and proceeded to add me on all my social media accounts. He became obsessed with finding me, and it had been only a 10-minute drive. I obviously didn’t add him, but he was insistent. A few days ago, one driver gave me his phone number at the end of my ride and told me to text him so that he could have mine. I was extremely uncomfortable and, even though nothing happened, it made me feel like I shouldn’t be nice to my Uber drivers anymore because they think that’s a green light to hit on me, which it’s not.

So, if you’re an uber driver reading this: it’s NOT okay, under any circumstance, to harass your passenger to the point where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Not only can this leave you potentially jobless, but it can also have a very negative impact on the person sitting in your car.  

Uber is a great tool because it’s a life-saver when you don’t have a car. You have to decide whether you want to pay less, but be exposed to more danger; or take a more expensive taxi, but feel safer. In my opinion, Uber is great because of how quick it is, but I believe everyone should be responsible for their own safety. Whenever I get in an Uber, I always screenshot the ride information from the app and send it to a friend or family member. It’s also always a good idea to carry pepper spray or some type of weapon that will help you in case anything bad happens. You just have to be careful and aware of your surroundings.


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