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How to say safe when riding Uber or Lyft

Donald Bradley, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Science & Technology News

She's a regular ride-share passenger, at least once a week. And she follows the rules.

"Knock on the passenger side window," she said. "Make them show you their ID before you get in. You have to make sure who they are."

For those who aren't sure how ride-sharing works, passengers travel in private vehicles driven by their owners, for a fee pre-arranged through a phone app. Despite the negative stories, riders, police and others say the good outweighs the bad.

"Police encourage ride-sharing -- just do it responsibly," said Kansas City police spokeswoman Sgt. Kari Thompson. "Yes, the party districts have had incidents. Obviously if someone has ill intent that's where they go."

"Riders must make a driver prove who they are," Thompson added. "That's not a problem for sober people. They can quickly determine if someone is who they say they are.

"But alcohol hinders that judgment, and that's when people get in trouble."

 

Kayla Whaling, an Uber spokeswoman, said the company recently began a safety awareness campaign to emphasize a rider's need to check the car's license plate and the driver's photo and name.

"We want to make sure people know how to ride safely," Whaling said. "We want to remind them to confirm who their driver is prior to getting into the vehicle.

"No trip is anonymous."

But Uber has come under fire for hiring convicted felons who go on to commit crimes. In June, a Kansas City woman sued the company, saying a driver with a criminal record raped her.

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