DURBAN - Marshall Security says members of the public who use e-hailing services should be aware of safety tips to help them if they are ever in danger.
Managing director Tyron Powell said there had been reported incidents where passengers were robbed or subjected to sexual harassment or abuse.
Powell said most of the bigger service providers had special SOS/Emergency buttons within their apps.
However, he said this could only be activated if a passenger still had their phone.
Drivers also have to pass background checks and receive official police clearance certificates before they are allowed to provide their services, he said.
“Selfie verification, which prompts drivers to take frequent snaps of themselves and upload them pretty instantly (upon platform request) helps to ensure the driver behind the wheel is the same as the one shown on the app,” said Powell.
He said apart from this, Marshall Security had come up with other safety precautions for passengers:
- Always try to share a ride (preferably with people you know).
- Check them out. Make sure that the driver’s face, registration, vehicle make and model all match what is supplied on the app.
- Share your live location with someone that knows you are on the move. Most well-known e-hailing apps have this feature built in, so you just need to share that link provided. It also supplies details on the driver and vehicle model, registration and make. Plus, all trips are tracked and recorded, which is a solid win.
- Rate your drivers honestly. If you weren’t comfortable or happy, that is pretty important information and the star rating will help others make different, potentially safer choices.
- Take note of your surroundings. Especially if you are leaving a local hot spot. Opportunistic criminals are on the lockout for preoccupied people with their phones out waiting for their rides. They are easy targets for criminals. And can also turn the driver into a target.
- You are entitled to cancel and request a new trip if something doesn’t feel right.
- Check the boot. It should be empty. Pretend you have to put a bag in there if you feel awkward about it, but most drivers are used to this by now and may even hop out to show you without you requesting it.
- Make sure those doors are never locked via central locking and that the child lock on your door isn’t on.
- Make use of the SOS button on the app.
- Avoid waiting in the street. Stay inside until your app shows that your driver has arrived at your pick-up point.
- If you need to contact your driver, use the app. It’s an anonymous calling feature on a private network, so neither of you are actually sharing your numbers.