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Risks of Ridesharing: What Passengers Should Know Before They Ride

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2016 | Personal Injury Law |

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are giving taxi companies a serious run for their money. These companies are so appealing because they are able to operate a service that is in high demand for a low cost. But what many individuals who use this service do not realize is that low fares for rides could end up costing more than they bargained for.

Ridesharing companies have a very simple business model. Individuals who meet basic criteria can apply to become a driver with the ridesharing company. After a brief screening, the driver is added to the ridesharing system. Passengers use the ridesharing app to request a driver in the area. The fares of the rides fluctuate according to the time of day, but are generally much lower than traditional taxi services.

You may be wondering how a ridesharing company is able to offer these services at such a low rate. First, the ridesharing companies are able to keep operating costs down because the drivers are responsible for providing their own vehicles that meet the companies’ standards. The ridesharing companies do not have an office in each city in which they operate. This means they do not have the overhead costs related to having an office or dispatcher, or expenses associated with local licensing. Additionally, the rideshare company only gives the drivers a portion of the fare the passenger pays.

The real savings comes from the money saved on insurance policies. Liability insurance on a taxi is very expensive. This is mainly attributed to the amount of time a taxi spends on the road and because the purpose of a taxi is to carry many different passengers from different points of destination. Therefore, there is a high risk for injury associated with the daily operation of a taxi service. By not having the appropriate insurance policy, both the driver and the passenger may be left underprotected in the case of an accident.

Going on the Ride of Your Life

In addition, these ridesharing companies are not able to personally meet and interview the drivers that sign up to drive for the company. The application process is based on being of a certain age with a driver’s license and minimal driving experience, having a registered car with insurance, a car that meets certain requirements, and a clean background. But these requirements are not indicative of whether the individual has any sort of formal driving training and there is little to no accountability because these drivers are not even employees of the ridesharing company. They are all labeled as independent contractors – another way the companies save a big chunk of money.

So what is the worst that may happen if you get a bad driver? There is no supervisor or manager to make a formal complaint to, and no customer service department to voice your concerns. Instead, you can leave a review on the ridesharing app or social media and hope to discourage other passengers from sharing a ride with this driver.

Getting in to a car with a driver that you are unfamiliar with is risky because you never know what may be in store for you during the ride. The lower cost of ridesharing does not guarantee the same level of safety of a local, well-reputed taxi service in your city. If you have been injured in an accident while you were using a ridesharing company, contact the Piccin & Glynn in Ocala today at 352-558-8480 to set up a free consultation for personalized and reliable advice, and to give you peace of mind about your case.