Top Tips for Ridesharing Safety
In light of the festive season, the amplified increase in the demand for mobility gives rise to the use of ridesharing services especially in holiday hotspots like Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane and Johannesburg.
According to Afri Ride’s managing director, Joe Moyo, ridesharing services offer South African commuters a far more cost effective, safe and convenient alternative to owning a vehicle, using poor public transport or making use of informal taxis. “All a rider needs to do is open an app on their smartphone, and they will get a ride in a matter of minutes”.
However, he adds, there has been a few incidents in recent years where passengers have been tricked into getting into the wrong vehicle and assaulted, sometimes by drivers who have violence-related criminal records but managed to pass a background check.
Moyo says passengers need not worry too much as there are several steps passengers can take to ensure their ridesharing safety. “Firstly, check the driver’s rating. Any driver that has had issues with passengers before will have bad ratings; any responsible ride sharing company would cancel a driver’s permit if their rating dips too low. It’s important that you check whether your driver has a good rating, if they do not, cancel the ride and ask for another driver.
Next, he advises that if you are in an area that is unfamiliar to you, to check your own GPS application or the App itself to ensure that you are being taken to the right location. “In this way, you can keep an eye on unscrupulous drivers who might want to take a longer route to up the fare’’.
Similarly, he says a lot of ridesharing services contain features within their application that enable your loved ones to track your location. Ridesharing app, Afri Ride has an integrated chat service, Mbira Chat which allows you to chat, voice or video call and send your live location to let your friends and family know where you are and when you are expected to arrive.
Finally, although some people might find this impolite, Moyo advises to always ride in the back seat, as this gives passengers distance from the driver and a better chance of getting out of the vehicle quickly in the event of any incident.