“You don’t hitchhike anymore, correct? But, a lot of people digitally hitchhike. So, they’re using an app, but they have no idea who’s behind the wheel. They have no idea about the safety aspect of the transportation,” said EmpireCLS CEO David Seelinger.
Women are often informed of things they should do to stay safe. They include things like not walking home late at night or having someone accompany them when walking through a parking lot. This also includes getting into the car of a complete stranger. Unfortunately, women still do – through the use of ridesharing services.
Here are a few reasons why women should think twice before opening up a ridesharing app to book transportation.
You Could Be Left Stranded
More and more, people are falling victim to a tactic in which ridesharing drivers are choosing to collect cancellation fees, instead of doing cheap trips. Travel influencer, Brian Kelly, also known as The Points Guy, experienced this first hand. By purposefully not doing cheap trips, they are forcing passengers to cancel. Drivers then keep 75% to 80% of the cancellation fee that passengers have to pay. The percentage is dependent upon when they started driving for that particular ridesharing company.
One reason drivers would do this is if a passenger is going a short distance, but the driver has to travel a long way to pick the passenger up. Another instance would be if a passenger is traveling to a neighborhood where the driver believes he or she is unlikely to receive another pickup. This situation is particularly common at airports. Drivers who have been waiting in line for a long time might want to take a cancellation fee for a cheap ride, rather than lose their places in line and miss the opportunity to do a longer, more profitable trip.
Beyond being extremely unprofessional, this shady act risks women being stranded and possibly vulnerable, especially if they are booking a ride late at night.
At EmpireCLS, all of our chauffeurs are valued employees of our company who receive some of the most competitive salaries in the industry. They also get bonuses based on performance, which incentivizes them to always provide the utmost in personal service. And, as a professional chauffeured transportation provider, there will never be a time in which our customers won’t be served. We take great pride in giving people first-class experiences every time they travel with us, with the utmost in trust and reliability.
You Could End Up with a Fake Driver
You can actually end up entering the wrong car with someone who has other intentions. In fact, anyone can easily purchase stickers and magnets with the logos of ridesharing companies online. If you’re in a rush or just can’t wait to get home, you might unintentionally step into a car that you didn’t order. Unfortunately, this scenario does happen, and women have been victimized.
Such was recently the case with Elizabeth Suarez, a young woman who booked an Uber to take her home after a night out in Las Vegas. She got into a car that had matched the description she was given, but it was not the Uber that she had booked. Elizabeth didn’t realize the driver she was with wasn’t her ride until she received a call from her actual driver. She was able to escape after jumping out of the car while it was still moving. Though she suffered a few injuries, Elizabeth was able to get away from what could’ve been a much more dangerous situation.
You’re Essentially Getting in a Stranger’s Car
You never really know what you might be getting yourself into when you use a ridesharing service. Many would expect that everything should be just fine. But, with an alarming frequency of negative incidents, you can never really be sure about what you could be getting yourself into.
Unfortunately, fake ridesharing drivers aren’t the only thing women have to worry about. Drivers who actually work for these ridesharing companies aren’t completely safe either. During the summer of 2017, 92 allegations of sexual assault were reported against Uber and Lyft drivers. In April of this year, CNN published a statistic that 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years. At least 31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape. Additionally, dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending.
As an industry standard, many professional chauffeured transportation companies maintain strict screening processes when it comes to employing chauffeurs. At EmpireCLS, the safety and security of our passengers is our highest priority. Because of this, only the most trustworthy applicants get the opportunity to call themselves EmpireCLS chauffeurs. We regularly perform extensive federal, state and Department of Motor Vehicles background checks. Our zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy is steadfast. And, we conduct psychometrics exams to assess each chauffeur’s mental capabilities and behavioral style. On top of this, all of our vehicles come with onboard DriveCam and Silent Passenger vehicle tracking, allowing us to proactively maintain the safety of our passengers.
Ridesharing companies do uphold a set of vehicle restrictions that apply to everyone who applies to become a driver. These requirements can vary greatly depending on the specific service type divers are planning to drive under. They are also just a starting point, and the approval of a driver’s vehicle is solely at the discretion of that particular ridesharing company, who has the final decision. This can sometimes vary on a state-to-state basis.
Additionally, although encouraged, there is no requirement for drivers to maintain adequate safety and performance standards. This means that passengers could risk riding in vehicles that may not necessarily be completely safe.
How can women be safe and secure if the vehicle they’re traveling in isn’t properly maintained? This should not be something that they have to worry about when booking transportation services.
Reputable chauffeur transportation companies conduct regular maintenance for their vehicles to keep them running in peak performance. At EmpireCLS, each vehicle in our late-model, luxury fleet is meticulously maintained. And, because we pull vehicles from service after 24 months, we have one of the youngest fleets in the industry.
Women only know how reliable ridesharing drivers are from the information that ridesharing companies share about them on their apps. Although there have been improvements for rider safety, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
To truly have peace of mind, women should consider more secure forms of transportation. When it comes to safety, there’s no better way to travel than with a professional, reputable chauffeured transportation company.
At EmpireCLS, we go above and beyond to keep women safe. In addition to conducting extensive chauffeur screenings, we perform daily vehicle preparation and preventative maintenance. Our chauffeurs are also trained in defensive and evasive driving.
On top of this, our specialized SecureCar service offers added security when travels call for an extra layer of protection. It’s ideal for women vacationing in unfamiliar locales or heading to highly political regions for business.
Click here to learn more about our passenger safety standards.
For more information on our SecureCar services, please click here.