San Diego

Ride-Hailing Companies Increase Safety Measures After Series of Attacks

These attacks, some brutal, have happened all over the country, including in San Diego.

A series of attacks on women by men posing as ride-hailing service employees have the companies beefing up safety measures.

These attacks--some brutal--have happened all over the country, including in San Diego.

Tom Parise told NBC 7, he has been an Uber driver in San Diego for the last four years. His favorite spots to work are downtown and by the beach.

"The population density is good and people who live on their phones, live there," said Parise.

He said he's seen it all--the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. At times, he also added, things can get dangerous.

Reports of women being assaulted, even raped after using a ride-hailing service continue to make headlines.

In some cases, people pose as drivers.

Uber and Lyft have launched a public awareness campaign, offering GPS-tracked rides from start to finish.

Passengers are also now able to share details of their trip in real time with family and friends on the app.

Representatives from Uber sent out the following statement:

"Technology has enabled Uber to build safety into our service before, during and after a trip such as receiving information about the driver and the vehicle in advance and GPS tracking of every trip, However, these safety features only work if the car you enter is the one you were matched with on the Uber app, so we want to make sure people are double checking the driver and car before taking a trip."

The carpool option also raises some concerns.

Linda Leewaye said she found that out firsthand.

"We got a carpool Uber. We shared it with two other gentlemen. One of the gentlemen was very drunk," she said.

The ride couldn't end soon enough for Leewaye and her friend.

"He proceeded to put his hand on my leg. The Uber driver noticed that he was harassing me and threatened to kick them out of the car," she explained. "It almost escalated into a really bad fight."

Leewaye told NBC 7 she has made changes to her travel, especially late at night.

"It was pretty bad. And never again will we do an Uber carpool," she said.

A few more safety options for passengers include cross-street pickups and drop-offs so you don't have to enter your exact address into the app.

Also, allowing passengers to call their driver if there's an issue but both the driver and passenger's phone numbers remain confidential.

Lyft also sent out a statement on safety precautions being taken, which read:

"From day one, safety has been our top priority at Lyft. We have designed a number of policies and features to ensure that every ride is as safe and comfortable as possible for all parties.

To create a safe experience for the Lyft community, we provide drivers with 24/7 over-the-phone assistance, in addition to a dedicated 24/7 Critical Response Line for situations in which riders or drivers feel their safety is threatened. We also have a two-way rating system, and take all user and driver feedback very seriously. If either party assigns a rating of 3 or below, they’ll never be matched again. In any situation where a driver feels uncomfortable, we recommend that they immediately end the ride, and fully support them in their decision to do so. Any behavior threatening the safety or comfort of riders or drivers is not tolerated.

To ensure that riders get into the right car, our app features photos of the Lyft driver, their vehicle, and their license plate number. We also have a new device called Amp, which sits on the driver’s dashboard and illuminates in a color that corresponds to what the passenger sees in their app. This added security feature is especially useful at night.

We have an in-depth screening process for drivers, including criminal background and driving-record checks (including queries of local, state and federal databases, and a 50-state sex offender registry check), in addition to a vehicle inspection."

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