Shine Your Eyes: Ten security tips for people who use Uber or Bolt
My kith and my kin, shall we fellowship in prayer? We thank our Skynet AI overlords in Silicon Valley for the essential service that is ride-share apps. The comfort, the privacy, the convenience!
These are but some of the reasons why some Uber and Bolt users continue to use the service. Even when Lapaz traffic will sometimes want to make you reconsider.
Notwithstanding the careful inspection and processes Uber and Bolt implement in backchecking their drivers such as police record verification, one can never be too lax with security. Crimes such as robbery and even kidnaps have been committed by ride-hailing drivers as well as riders. We’ll talk about the latter at a later date.
So PSA! PSA! Today we are arming ourselves with tips that can help passengers just in case they come across any dubious driver, whether it be Uber or Bolt or Yango or whichever. T for Thanks. Now, let’s get right into it.
Wait for your ride in a public/safe space
Ride-share apps show you when your driver is en route and how long it will take for a said driver to reach your location. It is wise that you wait for your driver at a location that is not dark and is open with the presence of other people.
Call the driver to confirm
One tip I find very helpful is that I usually call the driver 5 minutes before arrival to confirm if he or she is indeed said driver on the app. On ride-share apps such as Uber and Bolt, the driver’s phone details are listed. If the number goes to the listed driver and he or she identifies as not being the driver I hailed I promptly cancel the trip. Inversely, I take note of whether the said driver also identifies me by my profile name. Better safe than worry and sorry.
Take note of your driver’s car model and car number
This seems obvious enough but most of us tend to glance over this. The wise thing to do is to take notice of the car, the model and its number the moment it arrives and whether it fits the details as listed on the app. Also, take note of the driver’s appearance. Determining if he matches his profile photo is key. Some people’s pictures are very much ma tricky wu but I am yet to see any Uber or Bolt driver not much his or her profile.
Keep it cute or stay mute
Be respectful. Be cordial. But that’s as far as you should go. Do not give out any personal information like your social media, occupation or even last name. It is a ride-share, not a life-share.
Share your ETA
Uber, Bolt and Yango have trip sharing features as part of their in-built safety protocols. We suggest you make them casual to you. Share live updates of your trips with friends or family. You never know if and when it would be your godsend.
Play coy with a phone call
This is where you call upon your KG drama performances on Our Day. Or just maybe be real about it and make a phone call. Either way, indicate inconspicuously during the ride with a phone call that someone is aware of your location.
Check that the car’s locks are not on
Always, always, always, open and close the door again the moment you sit in a ride-share vehicle. If the Uber or Bolt is locked you can use the excuse of having left something behind so the driver opens it up. If you still feel unsafe after getting out you can always cancel and order another. Your safety comes first. Trust your gut.
Sit in the backseat
It is advisable to sit in the backseat since you have access to two possible exits. Better still sit at the passenger side so you can take note of the driver. Bottom line: always take a seat with a vantage point to an exit.
Rate the service
This may seem slightly obnoxious but please rate the service you get. Whether it is how the driver drove, how the car smelt or even the driver’s reception. Please, rate am. Uber, Bolt and Yango calibrate the information to optimize their products and services for users like you and me. Rate that ride simple.
Mask Up & Sanitize
Whether it is Covax or Sputnik or Neem Tree Special Nasal Diffuser, we beg you to mask up. Mask up! Covid is very much real and we are all not out of the woods yet. Get yourself a mask and a portable bottle of hand sanitizer. The virus is Mask for safety, max for security.