What’s going on, everybody? Today I’ve got a reader question from Christina. She asked, “What should I do about an Uber passenger destination that makes me feel unsafe”? When I saw this thought to myself, “Man, this is a pretty tough question.” I usually like to give myself easier questions when I’m answering stuff from readers, but for this one, I really feel like there isn’t a right or wrong answer. I want to talk about this issue, get some feedback from the community, and tell you guys what I think about this type of situation.
Check out the video we posted to learn more or you can read a copy of the transcript below.
The situation that Christina describes is one where she’s driving, she gets a pickup request, and the passenger wants to be dropped off in a part of town that makes her feel uncomfortable. That’s what it boils down to. In any city or country, there’s always parts of town that make you feel unsafe. Areas that are just frankly not as desirable as other parts of town.
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You always have the right to end the ride, but do it safely!
First thing’s first: If you ever feel unsafe or you ever feel that your security is at risk, you always have the right to end the ride. If you’re gonna end the ride, you have to be smart about it. If you are worried that this passenger is about to attack you, you probably shouldn’t end the ride in a dark alley where no one’s around.
If you are feeling unsafe, go to somewhere that’s public, where there are tons of people around. Exit the vehicle and then ask your passenger to leave your vehicle. I really think a dash cam is super important for drivers because not only will it record these types of situations. We all are probably familiar with the Taco Bell marketing exec who attacked an Uber driver by now, and how that whole situation turned out.
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We actually recently reviewed a great dash cam here on the blog. You guys can check out some dash cams for Rideshare drivers, and let us know what you think.
Can you deny passengers based on their destination?
Back to this situation at hand with Christina, the biggest problem I see is that if you continually deny rides headed to a certain area, that could really just become a huge discrimination issue.
You do have the right to deny certain requests, but if you do, you start getting into that gray area where it may be a civil liability. One solution is to avoid driving the times of day where you don’t feel safe.
Places get scary at night. Certain areas get a little shady at night, and you probably wouldn’t want to be walking in those areas at night. You probably wouldn’t want to be with your girlfriend or your wife or your grandmother out in certain parts of town at night. Maybe a solution is that you should drive during the day when you might feel safer.
Even if you’re dropping off in areas that are less desirable, at least it will be light out, so you can see everything that’s going on. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m assuming less crimes happen during the day. Maybe someone can look that up and tell me in the comments if I’m right or wrong.
The other thing you can do, which I don’t think is the best idea, but you could ask every passenger where they’re going. That seems like a big logistical challenge if you call them and ask, “Hey, where are you headed?” And if the area is somewhere you don’t like, then you don’t take them, but then you would get into trouble with Uber because Uber doesn’t want you only dropping off passengers in certain areas. I’m not sure that’s a great solution.
Is dropping people off in bad areas part of the job?
I think dropping people off in these areas is a part of the job. If you’re gonna do this job, I don’t think you can have this job with the mentality that you’re only gonna go drive in certain areas, and you’re not gonna drop people off that live in certain areas. Now, it’s more than okay to target certain areas. It’s more than okay to go position yourself in an area where you think you’re gonna get longer rides, or that’s more affluent, or whatever it is.
When you’re without a passenger, you’re gonna go position yourself somewhere smart. But once you start denying riders based off their destination, you’re really no better than a taxi. That’s happened to me back in the day when I was taking rides as a passenger in a taxi. They would ask you, “Hey, where you going?” If it’s not far enough or it’s not to the right location, they’re not gonna take you. I think you definitely want to avoid that. I think that’s what made people hate taxis so much in the first place.
What Uber has to say on this topic
I emailed Uber and asked them, “Can I cancel the ride if the destination makes me feel unsafe?” I asked them specifically if I can cancel a ride preemptively if the destination makes me feel unsafe?” I had a pretty good feeling of what their response would be. They said, “I completely understand the concern here, but ending a trip in this region could come off as discriminatory to the rider, and we definitely would get feedback on this on the basis of discrimination, and I hope this clears this up.”
Basically, what they’re saying is, “No, you can’t do this. You can’t deny a passenger a ride to a certain area of town.” I think if I would have phrased it in a different way like, “Hey, this passenger is making me feel unsafe,” then it’s a safety issue, and they would say something different. But when you phrase it, “Can I basically not do drop offs in this certain area of town?” It brings up all these huge legal issues and discriminatory issues. I think that kind of that’s one of the reasons why Uber has become so popular because it doesn’t discriminate.
In the end, your safety is your #1 priority
I think what you want to keep in mind is first and foremost, your safety is the utmost priority. Do what’s best for yourself, do what’s best for your safety, and then when issues like this come up, think about what the impacts are for Uber, for the passenger, and for the driver community as a whole. It’s a tough question and hopefully I did a good job of answering it. If you guys have an opinion on this, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. If not, definitely like this video, subscribe to the channel, and come back soon. I look forward to hearing from you guys. Take care.
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