North Texas Daily

Dear Uber and Lyft: We demand drivers to be respectful

Dear Uber and Lyft: We demand drivers to be respectful

March 21
16:15 2018

Picture this: You’re a college student — well, a broke college student, which is why you don’t have a car yet and you take the bus to class. It’s Saturday night, and your relentless friends convinced you to go out.

Sounds fun, right?

Only thing is no one can pick you up. You decide you want to have a little fun tonight anyway, so you order an Uber to Uptown Dallas.

Seems like a good plan. The downside? You have to endure 45 minutes of flirtatious and inappropriate comments from a sketchy, much older Uber driver.

That is not OK.

According to public safety campaign Who’s Driving You, there have been 362 alleged sexual assaults and harassments by Uber and Lyft in the past six years.

We often think Uber drivers talk to us to be nice and to ensure we give them their five stars at the end of the ride, but there is a fine line between casual conversation and hitting on a passenger.

I had a friend who took an Uber home from Collin College and was constantly asked by her driver if she had a boyfriend. When she said she did, he said he didn’t believe her and made her feel uncomfortable. He then asked her several times to follow her on Instagram, and even when she kept saying “no,” he kept going.

You might think this is just a guy interested in a girl. That’s fair. But when a woman — or even a man, for that matter — rejects this kind attention or requests, it should be taken seriously.

What happened to my friend might have been annoying, but that is how conflicts start. Flirting can turn into something very serious and negative very fast.

I once was asked by a Lyft driver if I wanted his phone number so I could contact him personally to get a ride, in an effort to get me to stop using Uber. I was 18, and he was in his mid-60s.

We should trust the people companies employ to drive us around, especially at night, especially when there are high numbers of harassment complaints against Uber and Lyft and especially when these are popular transportation options for college students and young adults.

According to harassment laws in Texas, harassment starts by the intent of the perpetrator, meaning it is not OK to let these drivers step out of the line because they have a young, pretty girl in their back seat.

Featured Image: Illustration by Gabby Evans

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Oriana Valderrama

Oriana Valderrama

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