Spreading misinformation is not helping (Rider safety.)
This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was watching my local news broadcast in Seattle Washington, Local Q13 News. I'm very fond of this news affiliate and watch it daily. Their local reporters are likable, intelligent, and very good at their jobs. This is why I was shocked to hear one of the most talented members of their team, Ms. Brandi Kruse, speak in error when referring to the proper procedures for Uber drivers in confirming a rider's (Pax) name.
She was doing a story about the recent string of events where female pax are getting raped and even murdered by fraudulent rideshare drivers. After reporting the story, Ms. Kruse then began running through a list of tips riders need to use in order to guarantee their safety.
Of course she went through the usual preliminary steps: Check the car license plate, the make, model, color... then confirm the driver's face to the picture and the driver's name as well. All was fine up until her next few sentences.
"Make sure you get the driver to tell you your name! Do not give your name to the driver. Make them say your name. They have it in their app.They better know your name!"
I almost spit out my coffee! "Oh what the hell did she just say?? This is why I had two pax just yesterday pull this crap on me!" Coffee down and laptop open.....Lissetti has some words to say to this reporter.
This is the email I sent off to her this morning April 5th, 2019 9:55 AM. I'm waiting on a response. Q13 News is usually good about replying back to their community. I'll keep you guys posted as to the status of the reply.
Attention: Brandi Kruse
Hello Ms. Kruse,
I am a female Uber driver and I have performed this job for over 2 years while I attended college. I'm writing to you about a statement you said in your morning broadcast about the fake Uber driver rape story. You said that the Uber driver is the one who is supposed to say the rider's name. This is incorrect and Uber has warned us drivers against using this practice. We are supposed to ask the rider's name, not say it. The reason is because random people can approach a waiting car and essentially "steal" a paying customer's Uber ride by and saying they are indeed the name of the person the driver asked for. Then once that person is in the car and the ride is underway, the rider will attempt to continue the fraud by saying they put the wrong address in the app and they will just give directions to where they want to go.
The experienced Uber drivers will realize something is up and pull over immediately. The problem now is that we have a stranger in our car who is not identified Uber's system by either their account ID or by info extracted through their phone data. Uber has no way of tracking this person should anything transpire. This happened to me once as a rookie Uber driver when I pulled up to The Shelter bar in Ballard one Saturday morning at 2:20 am. A man walked up my car and asked who I was looking for. I told him the name of the rider I was looking for, "Jake." The man said that was him and got in the car. About a mile away my phone rang. It was my real rider I was supposed to pick up, the real Jake.
Jake canceled the ride and I pulled over to tell the man sitting behind me that he got in the wrong Uber. He angrily told me it didn't matter and that he just lived a couple miles away and to take him home and he will give me cash. That is against Uber's policy too and I told him that. He refused to get out of the car. Like I said I am a female driver and this was a large, angry drunk man. Further, we were both alone in my car on a dark street at 2:30 am. So as to not escalate matters, I did as I was told and took him to his destination. As he got out he tossed a $20.00 bill on my console.
Yes I made $20.00 out of a bad situation but this could have ended much worse for me. This man was not Jake. He does not exist in Uber's system. There would be no way for Uber to track this man had he attacked me and fled after. I had got into a car accident with this individual in the vehicle, Uber's insurance would not cover any damages including the rider's medical injuries because since the rider in my car was not their customer, I was working "off app" in a street hail fashion which is not only against Uber policy, but it's against the law for rideshare drivers to do. Street hail is legal for taxi cabs only.
Please do not tell your listeners that the driver should say the rider's name. We are only to ask their name, or the rider can confirm our name. Unlike Lyft, we Uber driver's have no picture or other way identify a rider on the app other than their name and location. Meanwhile Uber gives the rider more than enough information to identify their driver. Riders are given the driver's car make, model, color and most importantly the car's license plate number. Rider's are also given the driver's name, picture, as well. The burden of proof is upon the rider to clarify that they are getting into the right car. Further, Uber makes sure they supply the rider all the tools they need to ensure they are getting into the proper vehicle.
I also work as a moderator for the world's largest online rideshare forum, uberpeople.net. You are welcome to come to our forum anytime and see what we drivers are saying about this recent turn of events and other issues. I've supplied some links to some threads on our forum regarding this topic that may be of interest to you. You aren't the only reporter who is telling the public to make the driver say the rider's name. This has gone nationwide.
Also, from Uber.com.
I watch the Q13 news broadcast daily, and I think you are an excellent reporter and very talented. I look forward to your in depth commentaries on local and national issues. However please do not continue to spread this misinformation about rider name confirmation tactics. We Uber drivers are also part of your community that you seek to protect. Why put information out there that not only is against Uber guidelines, but also jeopardizes our safety as well?