Students, Uber drivers consider safety, convenience of rideshare services

ON THE WAY: Senior Heather Roser uses a Carmel-area Uber.  Many people have concerns about unfamiliar drivers when using Uber, but  Roser said she isnt worried. CAROLYN ZHANG // PHOTO

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ON THE WAY: Senior Heather Roser uses a Carmel-area Uber. Many people have concerns about unfamiliar drivers when using Uber, but Roser said she isn’t worried. CAROLYN ZHANG // PHOTO

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With the growth of an increasingly mobile society, many people have opted to use alternative transportation services to reach their destinations.

Founded in 2009, Uber is a transportation company whose usage has rapidly increased over the past several years.

Uber By the NumbersIn locations such as Carmel where taxi services are sparse, services like Uber are quickly gaining popularity.
In contrast to hailing down a traditional yellow taxi cab, riders can find drivers through a smartphone app. Uber drivers are known as “Partners.”

Senior Heather Roser started using the Uber service this past summer. She said she started because a friend had also used it and recommended it to her.

“I feel like Uber is convenient and you can just use their app instead of calling them,” Roser said. “You can just tell (Uber) how many friends you have and they’ll most likely have a car that fits that many people.”

Indianapolis Uber driver John McCauley said he recently began working for the service.

“I heard of Uber on Facebook and signed up, but didn’t use it for a few months,” McCauley said. “(I was) on a business trip in February in San Francisco and used the service to get around town.”

Both Roser and McCauley said they were impressed with the expertise and respectability of the drivers they encountered.Uber Did You Know

“Most of the time, (the drivers) are super nice and really professional about their job,” Roser said.

McCauley said he agreed with Roser that Uber drivers are generally professional about their jobs.

“We were very impressed with the professionalism of the drivers and the price to get around compared to taxis,” McCauley said.

McCauley said he ended up driving in April to make a little extra money.

“The people I meet are so much fun and entertaining. It’s really great to have such interesting conversations with different people and to hear so many life stories,” he said.

The convenience of the Uber service is a key advantage.

“You can use their app instead of just calling them,” Roser said. “With taxis, it’s kind of awkward. You don’t know, you might have a person in front of you, they might be waving it down and ‘Oh, should I go or should you go?’ It’s just confusing at that point.”

Roser said she also likes the fact that she can use her card to pay for the ride.

“I’ve always used my card. If I’m going somewhere, I don’t want to have all this cash on me, so I’d just bring my card,” she said.

Overall, Roser said she thinks the drivers she has had all seemed very professional, both in driving and accompanying the various needs of their riders.

Uber Price of Safety“They had food in there, they had car chargers, they have everything you really need,” Roser said. “Mostly, drivers are super nice.”

Despite the pros of Uber, this service still has some limits.

“One thing that I don’t like is that I’m sometimes in places that don’t have service, so when I use the app, it doesn’t work,” Roser said.

However, Roser said that situation only happened once. There was also a complicated system to divide up the cost of the ride, but she said these were small hindrances as she trusted the drivers of the Uber service.

Uber Safety Procedures“Since I’m a girl, there’s that thing where I don’t want to do anything by myself,” Roser said. “I would always want to be with people. But for the most part, I do feel safe.”

Roser said she relied on the driver’s first impression to determine if he was trustworthy or not and figured Uber had a good background check.

“The way I would categorize it, (the drivers are) mostly male, in their late-20s or maybe a little older,” Roser said. “Honestly, they stick to themselves and they just don’t bother people in the back, but they are like ‘Oh do you want to charge your phone?’ and stuff like that.”

ON THE WAY: Senior Heather Roser uses a Carmel-area Uber. Many people have concerns about unfamiliar drivers when using Uber, but Roser said she isn't worried. CAROLYN ZHANG // PHOTO
ON THE WAY: Senior Heather Roser uses a Carmel-area Uber. Many people have concerns about unfamiliar drivers when using Uber, but Roser said she isn’t worried. CAROLYN ZHANG // PHOTO

McCauley said he believes trust also depends on the mentality of the rider when choosing to use a transportation service like Uber.

“I can’t say that trust is any more an issue between an Uber driver and a taxi driver or a city bus driver,” McCauley said. “The only times that people have brought up the ‘trust issue’ is when it is their first time riding and they’re unfamiliar with the experience.”

McCauley said his customers are people of all ages.

“No matter who I get, they all say the same thing, that they prefer Uber (and Lyft) to taxis,” he said,

Roser said she expects students to use services like Uber in the future beyond high school.

“I know high school students just want to get the driving down,” she said. “College students, they will definitely want to use Uber, like college freshmen, especially because some colleges don’t allow driving on campus.”

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