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Uber, Taxi, or Just Walk?

by Blake 8. August 2017

Uber, Taxi, or Just Walk? Tips for Traveling When You’re Traveling

If you’ve ever planned a trip abroad, you’ve likely spent hours researching and comparing flights, hotels, restaurants, and activities before you’ve made a single booking. One thing that travelers often forget to plan is how to explore their destination once they’ve arrived. Sure, there might be dozens of activities within walking distance of your hotel, but what about the attraction that you’re dying to see that’s miles away? What if you pick a destination with plenty of activities, but poor or unreliable public transportation?

Most of us rely on private drivers in situations like these. Whether you prefer metered, licensed taxi services or ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, there are plenty of reasons why most of us might choose to hire a ride. They’re usually less stressful and more cost-effective than renting a vehicle, and one doesn’t have to be familiar with the local landscape and traffic to get where they’re going if they hire a local driver.

That being said, there are still risks related to hiring a driver when traveling. Reports of people becoming victims of crime from people posing as hired drivers are all too common these days. These dangers can become even greater when traveling internationally. You can avoid a lot of potentially threatening situations by considering a few things beforehand.

1.     Research both public and private transportation options prior to arriving at your destination. Public transportation vehicles and stations are often monitored by surveillance and law enforcement officers, which may make them a safer option. If public transportation is not a reliable option, you should also note that the ride-sharing app that you use locally may not be available in your destination city. Even if it is available, it may not be the safest method of hiring a driver. Licensed taxi drivers have long opposed competition from ride-sharing apps because they are often undercut on rates. In cities like New York, Paris, London, Mexico City, and Johannesburg, Uber and Lyft drivers have become targets of violence from taxi drivers. For all these reasons, its best to research your transportation options before you really need to use them.

2.     If you hire a taxi driver, be advised that, in some countries, cash is the only accepted payment option. Have some local currency on hand before you hail a cab to avoid any confrontation with the driver at your drop-off spot.

3.     If you’re using a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, make sure to identify the vehicle and driver prior to entering the vehicle. The app should tell you the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle as well as the first name of the driver. Also, ask your driver to identify the name of the person who requested the ride. Simply ask, “What’s my name?” before you enter the vehicle to make certain that you have the right driver.

4.     Share your ride status with someone you trust. Ride-sharing apps typically have a “Send Status” feature that allows others to track your ride using GPS. If they notice anything abnormal about your route, they will be able to contact police and alert them of the problem.

5.     Transactions for ride-sharing apps are always completed electronically using a credit, debit, or gift card. If an Uber or Lyft driver ever asks for a cash payment, consider it a red flag and leave the vehicle before the ride starts.

6.     Regardless of whether your ride is a taxi, Uber, or Lyft, request pick-up and drop-off locations in areas that are well-lit and well-populated, if possible.

At CME, safety is always our top priority when planning a trip. We use only commercially-licensed drivers with the proper skills and equipment relevant to each client’s needs. We always appreciate feedback from our clients and friends about their questions, comments, and concerns about ground transportation. 

 


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