With the spate of Uber and Grab-related crimes in the news lately, it’s easy to feel a little anxious about using a ride-hailing service. Although there are bound to be risks with any form of public transport, there are a few things you can do to increase your likelihood of a safer ride.
1. Check your driver’s rating.
While Uber used to have strict driver rating controls, only allowing drivers with a rating of 4.0 and above to drive, reports seem to imply that’s gone lax in recent years. The driver in the recent Uber robbery case had a rating of 2.8! If the app has matched you with a driver with a rating that’s lower than what you’re comfortable with, you have every right to cancel. It may be inconvenient to re-book a ride, but it’s probably better to be safe.
2. Get in the right car.
Before you get in the car, check that the license plate, driver photo, and driver name match up with what’s listed in your app’s booking screen. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get into the wrong car! If your driver picks you up in a car that’s different from the one registered app, don’t get in. There have been reports of scams done this way, so you can’t be too careful.
3. Check who’s in the car.
Unless you’re riding in a GRAB Share or Uber Pool, never ever get into a car if there’s someone else in it besides the driver. This goes against Uber and Grab’s regulations, and can be dangerous– as was the case in the recent Uber robbery. Cancel the ride and report it immediately.
4. Sit in the back.
Uber recommends that passengers sit in the backseat if you’re riding alone. Not only can you get out of the car easier, it also safer to put some physical space between you and your driver. I’ve had my fair share of drivers asking me to sit in the front seat to avoid looking like Uber/Grab drivers in front of angry taxi drivers, but that should no longer be the case with better legislation. Politely refuse and sit in the back.
5. Buckle up.
Always wear your seatbelt! Don’t forget to strap in, even as a passenger and no matter how short your trip may be. That’s just basic car safety.
6. Keep a friend in the know.
Both Uber and Grab have an option to share your ride details with a friend through the app, which sends your driver’s name, photo, license plate, current location, and ETA with a friend or family member. They won’t need to download the app to track your ride in real time. Make it a habit to always send a message to a trusted contact to let them know when you’re getting into a car, and update them when you’ve safely reached your destination. If you’re really uncertain, you can even call and stay on the phone with someone you trust during the ride.
7. Trust your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, ask to be let out of the car at an appropriate stop. Use your best judgement and if you ever feel you’re in danger, call 999 immediately.
8. Rate your driver.
If you’ve had a good or bad experience, be sure to rate your driver. Your feedback will help keep bad drivers off the road and other riders safe.