When considering using an independent taxi service like Lyft, the first question you might ask yourself is “is Lyft safe to use?” There are many considerations that come to mind: Who are the Lyft drivers? Are the drivers reliable? What would happen if I get into an accident while using Lyft? How can I protect my privacy? All of these questions are important to consider before using a service like Lyft, and in this article, we will address them all.
So, exactly how safe is Lyft?
Lyft is safe to use because it provides support for customers who may experience danger or discomfort while using the service. Background checks, 24/7 customer support, and a rating system ensures the safety of users. So long as you take reasonable precautions while using Lyft, maintaining your safety should be easy.
Though Lyft is committed to the safety and comfort of all of its users, some safety concerns are still raised by users. Lyft drivers use their own personal vehicles, and do not need to go through any formal training or licensing (as opposed to typical taxicab drivers). However, some functions of the Lyft service are safer than typical taxi companies, as the app provides the name and photograph of the driver who picks you up, and both drivers and passengers are rated based on their behavior while using Lyft.
Lyft has a 1-million-dollar insurance policy to pair with the verified, in-state insurance of all of its drivers. Lyft does a DMV history check – as well as state and county-wide background checks – on its drivers, and rejects any applicant who has a history of violent crimes, sexual offenses, felonies, or drug-related charges. Lyft has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for its drivers, and encourages passengers to report Lyft drivers who violate this policy. A Lyft driver’s vehicle must be in good condition, no older than twelve years, and must pass Lyft’s 19-Point inspection. Lyft also has a 24/7 customer service help line in case of emergencies.
Overall, Lyft is about as safe as the traditional taxi service that it emulates, and includes functions that are (in some ways) a large improvement over the typical taxi experience. But just in case, we've provided some extra tips that can make your ride with Lyft as safe as possible.
5 tips for staying safe while using Lyft
1. Choose safe, well-lit locations for pick-up and drop-off.
One of the benefits of using Lyft instead of a traditional taxicab service is that GPS technology allows Lyft drivers to find you and pick you up pretty much anywhere you like. This saves you the trouble of having to wait for a taxi in an unsafe neighbourhood, or in a busy, traffic-filled area that could be dangerous. Still, be sure to choose safe locations for pick-ups and drop-offs, and consider walking to a better-lit or more crowded area to meet your driver. You can even wait inside a building for your Lyft driver because the app will notify you when the driver arrives.
2. Make sure the correct driver and car has come to pick you up.
You can use the Lyft app to see how far away your driver is while you’re waiting; this should help you gauge when your driver will arrive. The Lyft app also allows you to see the first name, profile picture, license plate number, car make and model, and current rating of your driver. Make sure that all of this information matches with the driver who arrives to pick you up. If you can, also see if you can get your driver to recognize you by name (something they will probably do as soon as you enter the vehicle, for their own safety).
All of this is to make sure that you are being picked up by an actual Lyft driver, or that the correct driver has arrived and is taking you to the correct location. Remember that Lyft vehicles are the personal property of the driver – they do not have distinctive markings.
3. Utilize the 24/7 customer service line if you need it.
At any time, a passenger or driver can call Lyft’s 24/7 customer service line at 855-865-9553. A customer service specialist will assist the caller with any issue. Lyft also recommends dialing 9-1-1 prior to calling this line if you encounter a true emergency. It might be a good idea to save Lyft's customer service number in your mobile device before using Lyft. You never know when it might come in handy!
4. Use the two-way Lyft rating system to inform other users of bad drivers.
In addition to your Lyft driver's identifying information, the Lyft app will show you the rating score that the driver has received from previous passengers. Though it’s not always necessary to cancel your Lyft ride because of a low driver rating, this is an option, and it allows you to wait for another Lyft driver to pick you up instead. In addition, if you have a bad experience while riding with a Lyft driver, you can anonymously rate them (see the tutorial on how to use Lyft for how to do this). This will help warn other passengers about the driver, and inform Lyft if a driver is behaving inappropriately in any way.
5. Stay in touch with someone whom you trust.
When using Lyft, you are getting into a car with someone who is, most likely, unfamiliar to you. Therefore, it is wise to let a close friend or family member know that you’re using Lyft, as well as where you are going. It also doesn’t hurt to send text messages to them or phone them while you’re riding, just to check in. Always make sure that your phone is fully charged when using Lyft, not only because it's a safety lifeline, but also because you will need it if you want to request a Lyft ride home!
That's our spiel on Lyft safety. Check out the next tutorial to learn how much rides cost with Lyft.