You’ve probably taken a ride in Uber or Lyft and enjoyed the casualness, convenience, and camaraderie of a shared ride. For the most part, these ride-sharing services live up to their billing: a “safe, reliable ride in minutes,” as Uber puts it. But recent developments may make you want to take a closer look at these services to be sure you are not trading convenience for safety.
A CNN investigation found that “at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S… have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years,” and that 18 Lyft drivers have been accused of the same. Although Uber was reluctant to publicly acknowledge and respond to the problem, a much-publicized incident in New Delhi involving driver rape and consequent life imprisonment, as well as the unearthing of an existing criminal record, forced Uber to do more than quietly manage issues through arbitration. Women who have been the targets of sexual assault and at least one lawyer representing them, Jeanne Christensen, are pushing for modified policies that would give them a stronger voice and compensation. According to CNN’s findings, “Christensen said she noticed a trend in those who’ve come to her firm for help: [v]ictims tend to be female and petite, live alone, and were inebriated at the time of the alleged assault,” demonstrating that driver-assailants know how to pick their targets (CNN.com).
These stories may primarily warn the female, short, and/or drunk among us, but supposing one does not fit into any or all of these categories? Or supposing that one has taken precautions against these vulnerabilities, such as sharing trip progress or traveling with friends when taking Lyft or Uber? Is there still cause for concern? There is cause, at least, for further thought and caution.
Consider the professionalism factor. Uber and Lyft drivers are often in their line of work to earn supplemental income. They may not be as invested in their work as a professional limousine driver is. The car they transport riders in is the same car that transports all of their personal belongings, children, and food. Riders may experience the “residue” of the driver’s personal life – odors, messes, and food particles could all be present without the rider anticipating the issue or having much control over it once it surfaces. Limousines, on the other hand, are devoted vehicles only utilized for professional purposes. Limos are therefore cleaner to begin with and have the added benefit of driver inspection between rides.
Then there is the issue of safety. While Lyft and Uber both claim to use sound background check methods, recall that limousine companies, around since well before 2009 (when Uber got its start), have been performing these checks for much longer, and their checks tend to be more thorough and reliable. As National Limousine Association (NLA) president Gary Buffo put it: “A truly comprehensive screening process would include a fingerprint-based background check solution, with the ability to find crimes many years back and across state lines. Additionally, in-person interviews as well as drug and alcohol screening are noticeably absent from the ride-hail vetting process, at the same time that our nation is suffering through an opioid crisis.” (Employment Screening Resources)
Your best bet is to go for the tried and true method. Limousine drivers are professional, safe, knowledgeable about local routes, well-prepared, and timely.
Extraordinar Limousine’s black car service provides safe, distinctive, comfortable, and reliable travel services in Baltimore, Virginia, D.C, and surrounding areas. We only hire the best drivers and perform extensive background checks before ever letting them behind the wheel. Not all other limo services can say the same. To find out more about renting a limousine from a reputable company, please call our office at 410-437-8200 to request a quote or fill out the form on our contact page.