My fiancée’s biggest concern with me driving, especially late at night, is safety. And I don’t blame her. I’m driving around the busy roads of South Florida letting strangers into my car. If I were in her shoes, I would be concerned too. While over 99% of my passengers are extremely nice and normal people, she and I still worry, as I think any person would.
To give her peace of mind, I can share my location with her through the Uber app with the “Follow My Ride” feature. Since I obviously can’t call or text while on a ride, there are often stretches of long periods of time where she won’t hear from me. With Uber’s “Follow My Ride” feature, she can check her phone any time she wants to and see exactly where I am. It’s super easy to do on my end — I click one button and it’s active. That’s it. The Uber passenger app also has this feature.
Lyft doesn’t have this feature. It’s absolutely baffling to me that it doesn’t have something similar, when safety is something that is extremely important for all parties.
Additionally, passengers like to know which driver they’re getting matched with. Passengers on both apps can see the driver’s name, their rating, their profile, and their profile picture. Profile picture requirements are strict: You’re required to upload a nice photo, with no sunglasses, no hat, not too close, not too far away, and with proper lighting. Drivers also like to know who they’re getting matched with. A simple name and a rating can go a long way to giving you peace of mind.
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On Lyft, passengers can upload a picture of themselves. Uber drivers can’t view their passengers’ profile pictures. At least on Lyft, for example, I now know that my next passenger, Samantha, has a 4.96 rating and also has blonde curly hair and glasses. This helps me so I can see who I’m looking for at a busy pickup spot.
However, this idea falls flat on its face, as there are clearly no requirements for profile pictures on Lyft, and they’re not nearly filtered with the same strictness as they are for drivers. If you based my passengers solely off of their pictures, to date I have given rides to the following: three cats, a horse, a red Ferrari, the Italian flag, SpongeBob SquarePants, and two beautiful golden retrievers. I would almost prefer no profile picture over seeing Spongebob smiling at me after I accept a ride on Lyft.
Like I said before, 99% of my passengers are nice, normal people. I have had two issues regarding safety, one on each platform. Without going into detail, let’s just say I absolutely did not feel safe in the scenarios. I cancelled the rides and reported them. Uber responded to my report immediately, giving me the impression that the company had my back the entire time, and said it would contact the authorities.
With the Lyft incident, it took the company hours to respond, and when it finally did, it was a simple, scripted email message that said, “You will not be matched with this rider again.”