- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 March 2016
- Written by LAUREN NIESZ | HEAD COPY EDITOR
When stuck in a situation where you have no way of getting home safely by yourself, you go for the quickest and cheapest option, which, as of now, would most likely be to call an Uber.
Uber has been getting a lot of publicity as of late because of various horror stories revolving around deranged drivers. Due to these recent situations, Uber users have been motioned to be more cautious about their driver choices.
It is important to know how someone becomes an Uber driver; there are only a few real requirements. According to their official website, in order to become a driver, one must meet the following conditions: Be at least 21 years of age, have a driver’s license, pass a background check, have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), have car insurance and registration, and have a car with a make of 2000 or newer.
The requirements are not as involved as they would be if one were to register to become a certified taxi or limo driver, but, nevertheless, Uber has become one of the most popular driving services of our generation.
Its cheap charges and convenience make it an easy option for people almost anywhere, especially college students. Because of its popularity, it isn’t uncommon to hear stories about everyone’s Uber drivers.
Whether they were impersonal, scary, or one of the most memorable parts of the night, you can’t escape the plethora of stories that come out of riding in an Uber.
Gina Geletei, a sophomore English and elementary education student, described some friends’ Uber experience, “They had a [female] driver and they asked her if she ever feels intimidated being a woman Uber driver, and she responded that she didn’t because she has a button that if she presses it, it calls the cops and she has another [button] that can lock the doors inside and out so no one can get in or out. [The Uber driver] then proceeded to pull out her knife and tell them that she also had this with her to protect her.”
Then a friend of Geletei’s asked if the driver had a gun on her out of curiosity and the Uber driver said that she “wouldn’t disclose that information.”
The driver then asked the girls if they had heard about the recent killings by an Uber driver in Michigan and when they confessed that they hadn’t, the driver urged them to keep up on their Uber news.
Thankfully, the girls arrived safely to their destination, but not without some hesitance and uneasiness.
Using any transportation service can be unnerving, especially one as loosely monitored as Uber. William McElrath, Chief of the Monmouth University Police Department, gave some advice to students using Uber, “Verify that the identity of the Uber driver and his vehicle matches what was given to you on your app. Wait inside or at a safe location for your ride. Do not wait outside in a remote, dangerous or desolate area. Let other people know you are using Uber and try and stay in touch with them.”
In addition to this advice, McElrath also suggested that students “be polite and respectful to your driver. Remember you are in his/her personal vehicle and if you want to get respect you need to give it as well.”
If you are fun and polite, your Uber driver is more likely to reciprocate the same feelings. Madelyn Arecchi, a junior English and education student, had a ride in which her Uber driver gave her and her friends a compliment.
“Our driver told us that our parents raised us well because we were very polite on our way to our destination. I actually later found out that the driver goes to the country club near my house,” she said. Arecchi’s story is one that demonstrates the old adage “treat others as you want to be treated,” which couldn’t fit any better when it comes to your Uber experience.
Joe Ruggiero, a junior communication student, also had a great experience with one of his Uber drivers, “The best Uber experience I ever had was down in Florida and a guy named Alfred picked my friend and I up and he offered to drive to Wawa, no extra charge. He was the real MVP.”
Most Uber drivers aren’t scary borderline-murderer types; for the most part Uber drivers are fun, nice, and helpful.
McElrath communicated what most of us think of Ubers, saying, “I think most people would agree that the majority of Uber drivers are safe, courteous and compliant with motor vehicle laws. Unfortunately, as in all walks of life, there are exceptions to the rule; people should be aware of that and protect themselves from these few.”
The takeaway from Uber is, as with any transportation service, to be vigilant and smart. Not everyone who drives an Uber is a creepy person; it is just a job for them, so make it just as enjoyable for them as you want it to be for you.
Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, just be able to recognize when an apple goes sour and pick the freshest one.
PHOTO COURTESY of Lauren Niesz