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Hiring a Lyft: Uber Safe or Uber Dangerous?

Jhosef Hern

Jhosef Hern

Ryanne Mena

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I never once gave a second thought about the safety of me or my friends after deciding to call upon the services of Lyft one Saturday night before a party.

No one really thinks much about the fact that the driver is a complete stranger, how his night is going, or how safe of a driver and person he/she is to be around.

I thought since the drivers were hired by companies such as Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar that they would be safe, or safe enough to drive people around without anyone getting hurt. Sure, upon applying for the job, drivers have to pass certain background checks; but these background checks are not as rigorous as the companies claim they are, this according to an article in LA Weekly.

Well a few weeks ago, three of my friends and I were at a party and decided we wanted to go to another person’s house so we called a Lyft. The drive started out normally, as expected, until my friend Nick who was in the front passenger seat decided to get a little bit too rowdy with his dancing, something the driver apparently did not like.

The driver said, “If you don’t chill out then I’m going to pull over and leave you guys there,” which my friend complied to and stopped dancing. Also, the driver didn’t like the music that we chose to listen to so he shut it off and would not turn it back on even when we asked if he could put some music on.

About 10 minutes later, we arrived at our destination. As Nick is getting out he said, “This was the worst Lyft ride of my entire life,” to which the driver responded by getting out of the car and pushing Nick to the ground.

Another one of my friends, Josh, then tackled the Lyft driver to the ground. Vulgar words were exchanged and everyone began to head their separate ways. Then Nick decided to spit on the driver as he was walking towards his car. The driver went into his car and a pulled out a pocket knife.

My other two friends and I immediately intervened and left the scene. After experiencing such a shocking and dangerous incident such as this, I no longer feel completely at ease when using apps such as Lyft, Sidecar, or Uber.

I can no longer go use the service without that thought in the back of my mind telling me that this person, who is driving me and my friends around, could be dangerous. “I would never take Lyft again. It was a traumatic experience and it was really unexpected, I was in shock,” said Anja Ellam, another one of the passengers who witnessed the entire incident.

Just this past September, an Uber driver was allegedly charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury after hitting a customer in the head with a hammer, according to Gawker.

There are many more cases reported regarding dangerous Uber drivers, and even more that are unreported. Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and any other similar company needs to perform background checks that are actually valid to prevent more–and possibly worse–cases, such as the one my friends and I experienced from occurring.

Safety is a justified demand, especially when it is a service people pay for; it only makes sense. Of course, it is an obvious risk a person takes when getting into the car of a complete stranger, but the risk should not have to be so high.

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17 Responses to “Hiring a Lyft: Uber Safe or Uber Dangerous?”

  1. Steven on March 19th, 2015 6:29 am

    So these services may not be safe, but it sounds like you may have been the most annoying passengers in the world. Certainly doesn’t justify taking a knife out, but are you kidding me? Your friend was instigating the entire event. Without his provocations there would have been no incident. Be smarter.

  2. Rye on March 23rd, 2015 1:33 pm

    First of all, none of the other passengers were being “annoying”, besides the person sitting in the front seat. We were simply talking amongst ourselves, not bothering anyone. Secondly, yes, the person sitting in the front seat may have been instigating something, but you are damn right that it does not excuse the fact that the driver put every single passenger in danger. It does not matter how “annoying” a passenger was, there should have been no incident what so ever. These companies need to be smarter in who they allow to work for them.

  3. Dirty Mike on December 23rd, 2015 5:41 pm

    So it’s your opinion they weren’t annoying?

  4. Kickass on June 2nd, 2015 8:51 pm

    Lol.. Based on your story, you and your friends were lucky non of you recieved some ass kicking… You the front passenger was your friend, monkey see monkey do. And yes you didn’t know how The drivers day was, he could have had a bad day and your stupid friend just made his day worse.. Spitting on someone is one of the most disrespectfull act another can do to another human being. I remember a guy pushed me and spit on me after taking my parking spot showing off to his girl friends. That dude end ep having a broken jaw and broken arm. Good thing your friend did not end up in the hospital..

  5. UrFau on August 5th, 2015 10:45 pm

    You’re lucky u guys came out alive. U guys shouldn’t have been as annoying to the driver. Why was the front passenger dancing like he was in his own car? He was distracting the driver that’s why he got pissed. And it snowballed from there. You guys are at fault. You started the whole thing. If you acted with normal passenger etiquette, he would’ve reciprocated. It escalated but it sounds like you guys put fuel in the fire when that front passenger spit on his car. DUH!

  6. BTCHYLYFT on August 17th, 2015 3:10 am

    Are you kidding me with this article???? You self entitled BITCH…. just because you are paying for a ride, does NOT entitle you to our stereos, being loud while we are driving!!!

    I am a lyft driver and uber in SF, i have been doing this since feb. 2014. San Francisco in itself is a beast to drive in first of all. Since i have started ride-share the cost of rides have declined 30%. Now we have to work longer hours, put more wear and tear on cars, plus put up with more self entitled little shits like you and your front passenger from a year ago. Because now uber and lyft are almost if not as affordable as a bus.

    You have no clue what we go thru how many people we deal with…SF is horrible…. horrible to drive in. But this is one of the only markets this works in to be somewhat profitable. LA, OC, SAN DIEGO are so spread out eta,s are longer…..less demand for rides because everyone has cars, driveways, garages and ample parking. Plus drivers there are payed less then SF drivers, per mile, minute etc minimum ride pick up….. So your poor driver dealing with self entitled immature asses in HIS CAR no less for a measly 10 dollar rides all day and nightjust to make a decent amount of money for the da/night, yeah id be pissed too….i would have beat the hell out of you all!!! All that poor guy was trying to do is make some money to pay rent, feed his family, make his car payment, and then he gets YOU GUYS…ACTING LIKE FOOLS distracting him from focusing on the road and giving you a safe ride to your destination potentially distracting him so much you guys may have gotten in a accident and being SERIOUSLY injured or someone else!!!! How dare you? Why do you think you can treat people like that in their personal vehicle, demanding the radio turned back on, ? What you think because your paying a couple measly dollars for a ride your entitled…we make pennies on your ride fare after all is said and done, depreciation of value of car, taxes, the 20% uber/lyft take out of each ride ….oil changes…brakes The price war between lyft and uber to be the cheapest to attract more passengers..has screwed us drivers… and with all that said… now the rates are sooooo low for passengers, it attracted…. cheap ass, bus riding, self entitled, no respect, bottom of the barrell passengers like you and your friends. Your mothers need to be shot in the head for raising you to think your behavior is justifiable. That poor driver….you spit on him for trying to get a passenger sitting right next to him driving, dancing and flailing around like a two year old, making the driver distracted from watching the road and getting you home safe!!!

    If you are ever in SF and I get you as a passenger I will run you over and throw your ass in the bay for the sharks …getting rid of someone who thinks like you would be doing the world a favor. STUPID CUNT!

  7. Dirty Mike on December 23rd, 2015 5:49 pm

    You have some really serious rage issues.

  8. Rodnee on February 22nd, 2016 11:38 pm

    You need to get out of the business man! You are exactly the kind of driver everyone is talking about! Totally unprofessional! The driver should have NEVER exited the vehicle. The guy stopped dancing…they were at the destination…so what if the guy said it’s the worse Lyft ride ever…big deal! You get paid…move on! But no…he gets out and PUSHES a customer!!!! UNACCEPTABLE!!! THAT was the exaggerating factor! If you idiot Uber/Lyft drivers knew what you were doing, you’d make good money, If it sucks so bad…why are you doing it? Too dumb to do anything else? From your post, I think that’s likely! NEVER escalate! If they are out of control, tell them to stop or get out, and if they won’t, make a call! If you can’t handle a drunk guy, you have no business in this business!!! I am a professional cabbie, I deal with them all the time. I’ve had to tell people to calm down many times, and they usually do. Yes, they can be annoying, but it comes with the job! I have kicked one person out in 3 years…because he wouldn’t stop…when I told him to get the ?”?” out of my cab or go to jail, he was out quick! Cab drivers are professional and are taught how to deal…Ubers and Lyfts…who knows what yahoo is driving you around!!

  9. Jeff on February 24th, 2016 10:09 pm

    Uber and lyft drivers a hard up losers with nothing to do. You can make more money flipping burgers. Haha losers. Can’t wait till this ride share is regulated. Then good bye cheap rides. Always be surging.

  10. Cindy on March 8th, 2016 6:15 am

    You are precisely why I do not use these services. Scary!!

  11. Tim on March 22nd, 2016 6:17 pm

    I admit, he’s right. They have no right to treat you that way. You’re not their slave but a driver just wanting to make a few bucks.
    And this is the internet, it isn’t unprofessional to speak your mind online. On the job is one thing but here is another.

    The drivers are not pissed off at everyone for no reason. They deal with shit from other people all the time. Drivers have every right to speak what they believe in but the riders have no right to treat them like crap. The same way that a snob has no right to pour soup over a personal chef’s head because it’s “too hot”.

    The riders should be nice, kind people, not snobby wankers.
    That way the drivers will be a lot happier and if they’re happier, the service with get better.

    It’s simple

  12. Dawn on September 28th, 2015 12:08 pm

    I’m an Uber and Lyft driver. Rowdy dancing in the car is distracting to any driver and very dangerous to your safety and not just when you are with service drivers. For music, I don’t really care but will never offer up my radio in my car. Needless to say, pulling a knife totally unacceptable but your friend would have caused me to want to leave at least him on the side of the road. I’m not going to die or be sued for killing someone when they are acting juvenile. Blame the driver for the knives but blame your friend for everything else. This is why I tend to only drive during the day. It’s more business people not college students and drunks. I have never had an issue with a rider and never plan to cause an issue for my riders.

  13. Cindy on March 8th, 2016 6:16 am

    No you……I would total ride with!! 🙂

  14. Cassandra Lili on November 15th, 2015 6:06 pm

    I’m a cab driver in Las Vegas and we have to deal with the most ignorant, annoying, self-centered idiots from every corner of the world. First of all, the driver should never escalate any situation or create anymore chaos than a simpleton would. Secondly, that’s why we are trained professionals and ridesharing employees are just regular people that do not know how to handle certain situations. Alcohol tends to bring out the very “best” in everyone, I’m not saying it’s an excuse (obviously I hate annoying customers more than anything.), but I am saying there is a line between acting foolishly or handling any situation responsibly.

  15. John D on November 26th, 2015 1:33 pm

    Nobody seems to get it… Tougher background checks won’t accomplish anything. Jeffrey Dahmer has no criminal history at all… It’s just the nature of that business.. Nobody to answer to. A professional limo chauffeur or car service hsve trained drivers and people watching over them.

  16. Dilana on April 9th, 2016 8:39 pm

    So I’m completely baffled as to how a background check would change your situation. A taxi driver could have done the same thing. As a matter of fact I started taking uber and lyft because I got chewed out and cheated by taxis soo frequently. So I guess it’s public transport for you?

    The argument behind background checks are for incidents like robbery, abuse, sexual assault and other cases where the persons history may be a flag. While it’s clear this driver wasn’t professional and deserves one star your friends don’t know how to make wise decisions. Anyone who grew up in a metropolitan city knows some of that behavior is a one way ticket to death if you mess with the wrong person anytime and anywhere. Spitting on someone. Seriously?! I don’t even know what kind of lunatic would do that to someone they don’t know. Sounds like the driver has some restraint because you didn’t mention hospitalization. You all couldn’t have been that “scared” spitting on someone you claim was already unstable. If you (well
    Really your friend Nick the clear character here) do choose to take a taxi/uber/lyft again my suggestion is after being told to chill out and not hearing your favorite movie to simply complete the survey at the end of your ride. One star with comment would have sufficed.

  17. Gaetano on December 21st, 2016 9:52 pm

    Huber drivers had no check background of any kind, taxi drivers and Limousine Chauffeurs have extensive FBI background ,department of transportation background, medical examination, no speed tickets for the last 5 years, no dui tickets for the last 10 years, no way to compare. Another aspect to take under consideration is the if anybody use unregulated Limousine services, it would be pretty much the same type of services as unsupervised drivers, high class Limousine companies have mobile eyes and in an out camera satellites devices, that make the transportation services completely safe. Another very important aspect. Share ride services have no coverage insurance by Huber,they only have they personal care insurance, which would be 100% invalid in any car accident.

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