Travel is constantly evolving and there always seem to be new, easier and efficient ways to conduct business while on-the-go. However, as the industry evolves, it’s important for travelers and businesses to stay up-to-date on new services and best practices to efficiently communicate with employees and ensure overall safety. One of the newest means of transportation are rideshare apps and while these services have brought ease, convenience, and peace of mind to millions of people both in the United States and abroad, they certainly have posed their own set of security concerns for both travelers and travel program managers.
As some recent incidents have demonstrated, travelers looking to take advantage of rideshare services must be vigilant of their surroundings before entering a car, regardless of the safety features that the app may provide. There are a number of steps travelers can take to ensure their own safety before entering the car.
After requesting a car for pick up, travelers should refer to the rideshare app for the model, color and license plate of the vehicle coming to pick them up. Riders can use this information to confirm their vehicle before getting in and should always do so in the following sequence:
- Look for the make of the car: Travelers should identify the make by the emblem on the front or rear of the vehicle.
- Confirm the model and color of the vehicle: The model of a vehicle can be found on the trunk. Additionally, the app should provide the color of the car and ridesharers should also use this information to visually confirm the car they are approaching.
- Confirm the license plate number: It’s important to use the license plate number as an additional confirmation before approaching the vehicle. License plate numbers are unique, so if the number in the app differs from the car’s license plate, do not approach the vehicle. Only if the number matches, should the traveler feel comfortable moving on to the next step.
- Have the driver confirm the passenger without revealing personal information: Before entering the vehicle, travelers should always ask the driver to tell them who he/she is there to pick up. Rideshare platforms provide all drivers with the rider’s name so there is no reason for a rider to enter a vehicle without confirming the driver has the correct name. During this step, ridesharers must remember not to share their name first. If the rider does not hear their name or doesn’t understand the driver, they can ask for the driver to show them the app. Users should not get into the car until confirming the driver is there to pick you up.
Even after confirming it is the correct vehicle, passengers should remain aware throughout the trip. Rideshare apps offer different ways to alert others to the status of the trip and ensure passenger safety, including:
- An option to share your destination with a trusted contact: Rideshare apps offer the ability to share the route and destination of a trip, including anticipated arrival time, with any contacts. Riders may want to share their trip with a friend or relative if they’re traveling for leisure or they can share trips with colleagues if they are traveling for business.
- An emergency feature within the app: Most rideshare apps have a safety button that connects riders directly to the rideshare company’s safety and security team. Riders can use this button if they feel insecure at any point during their experience. Situations such as erratic driving, an abusive driver or deviating from the recommended route are all reasons to contact the safety team. After the service is contacted, safety teams are able to track the vehicle, communicate with the driver and contact local authorities, if necessary.
The tips included here are vital to any passenger using ride-share apps. They make all the difference in staying safe when using these services. It is important to remember that while most drivers mean passengers no harm, it is the responsibility of the individual and the travel risk manager to provide travelers with this information so that they may implement it into their routine when using these services, and stay safe while using them.