A viral video caught a man posing as an Uber driver attempting to lure a teenage girl into his car near CSUN, as reported by KTLA 5 News on Aug. 21.
CSUN students and two Lyft drivers shared their opinions on whether ridesharing apps are safe in light of this report.
Los Angeles-based Lyft driver Jerry Franks says he has generally had a good experience driving with the company, but cannot say the same for their competitor, Uber.
“I’ve noticed that Uber drivers’ cars aren’t the cleanest, and the drivers aren’t the friendliest,” said Jerry.
However, his wife, Lily Franks, had her own horror story to share about the rideshare company her husband works for.
“The driver showed up a little too late, and was a little too friendly,” said Jerry on behalf of his wife. “She noticed there was a flask of alcohol in the car, so the driver was a little intoxicated.”
Lily declined to comment on the story.
A 2018 investigation by CNN revealed that 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers were accused of sexual and/or violent offenses in the U.S. alone. Thirty-three of these drivers have already been convicted of their crimes.
Lobbyists blame the fact that these services refuse to give fingerprint-based background checks to their employees, preferring to screen them based on their social security number instead.
According to the websites of both companies, Uber and Lyft each use a third-party company — in Uber’s case, the San Francisco-based Checkr — to conduct DMV and criminal background checks on their drivers.
In Lyft’s case, the driver must also give out an updated photo of themselves and have valid driver’s insurance, according to another Los Angeles-based Lyft driver, Ethan Jacobsson.
“Once the insurance expires, you have to renew it and upload a new photo,” said Jacobsson. “They also do inspections during the hiring process, and your car has to have at least a certain amount of mileage and be made in 2010 or after.”
Neither Franks nor Jacobsson are aware of the minimum amount of mileage a Lyft driver’s car needs.
Despite these criminal reports against Uber and Lyft drivers, some CSUN students, such as Nelly Martinez and Elijah Rice, continue to use these services and believe them to be safe based on personal experience.
“I think it’s safer for students to take it because it’s very convenient,” said Martinez, a Chicanx studies major who also works in Van Nuys.
“I never had a problem with a Lyft driver,” added Rice. “Most of them have been chill.”
Martinez had some words of advice for those less familiar with using rideshare services.
“You have to be sure it’s your Lyft driver, and I always check their license plates,” she said. “I always make sure they ask my name instead of me asking them if they’re my Lyft driver.”
Editor’s note 9/11/2018: The headline was chanced to reflect the story more accurately.