How safe are cab services like Uber?

In Singapore, the second safest city in the world, we have the privilege of taking cabs whenever and wherever we want without any worries. When we call a cab, an Uber, or Grab-Cab late at night, we never think about getting kidnapped or getting assaulted. But such worry is an apparent reality anywhere else in the world. It will soon be my worry as well as I, along with many other seniors, head off to college in the states where public transport isn’t always available and need to rely on cabs to get arouScreen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.45.58 pmnd.

Secondary cab services such as Uber have grown very popular in the states for their relative safety and convenience compared to public cabs. Uber has become so popular that it’s created a big controversy for disrupting the taxi industry and taking over their businesses.

With Uber, like many other cab services, you can choose from different types of vehicles and link your account straight to your credit card so you don’t have to pay cash every ride you take.

Lyft is another popular cab service in California that is similar to Uber. However, unlike Uber, which is more focused on prunnamed.pngofessional transportation, Lyft accentuates friendly and interactive transportation. According to passengers who have used Lyft services, they find themselves usually sitting at the front of the car side-by-side with the driver engaging in conversations. Lyft is also known among females as a “safer” version of Uber.

More on Uber vs. Lyft: ” Uber vs. Lyft: 9 things to consider before your first ride.”

Nevertheless, both services have been linked to several cases of death, assault, or kidnapping in the past years. Only couple of days ago, an Uber driver strangled a student of University of Delaware in the dorm parking lot. Earlier last month, a 16-year old girl was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver as well. That’s just two of the many assaults passengers faced using cab services.

According to reports by automotive analytics firm Zendrive and research firm Aite Group, drivers for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are still generally safer than the average American driver. But the cases of abusive behaviors by the drivers recently doesn’t make such statement sound very convincing.

Should we just be scared and never take cabs again? No, the worst case scenarios aren’t meant to scare you but let you be aware that the moment you step outside of Singapore, you should take extra precaution of your own safety.

Over the years, secondary cab services has taken initiative to overcome passengers concerns of safety. They’ve put in a place a stricter screening procedure when hiring drivers and established a system where passengers can always check profiles of the drivers before getting in the car. One of the most practical feature they have is a shareable tracking system; you can share your location, car, and driver information with a friend/family so they can track to make sure your Uber cab isn’t travelling off the expected path and going to unfamiliar locations.

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More details on Uber safety: Uber Safety Guidelines 

Lyft also provides a “Critical Response Line” in cases of incidents that threatens their passengers personal safety. Their rating system also makes sure that you never get matched with a driver that you’ve rated 3 stars or lower.

The features these services have put in place of course can’t eliminate all possibilities of criminal incidents, but by giving passengers bit more control over their transportation, it does help elevate passengers concerns. Even so, it is still important to be at high alert and make the right choices ourselves by checking the car and driver’s profiles, and sharing a cab with others instead of riding alone to minimize the risks.

Singapore may have given us the luxury of not having the worry about our safety concerns simply moving from one place to another, but this is a serious matter that all of us will have to pay extra caution to once we step out of our comfort zone.

Author: Kelly Chung

An avid photographer, a foodie, fitness enthusiast and a Friends fangirl, Kelly is a new Eye reporter this year. She’s been in Singapore since 2004 and at SAS since 6th grade. Now as a senior, she continues embracing her love for touch rugby and exploring hidden gems of Singapore. Kelly can be contacted at chung33191@sas.edu.sg.

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