Safety concerns about Uber remain despite settlement

Most people I know would rather call an Uber after a late night out rather than spend hours on any of San Francisco’s nighttime buses, which run sporadically and take forever. Unfortunately, Uber might not always be the safest option.

On February 11, Uber agreed to settle two lawsuits for a total of $28.5 million, which will go to customers.

The two class action lawsuits were filed on behalf of customers who didn’t feel safe using the ride-sharing service, despite having to pay Uber’s “safe rides fee.”

There have been six reported cases in San Francisco of Uber driver-on-passenger crimes in the past two years (including a hit-and-run accident involving a young child, for which Uber initially took no responsibility but later settled in a lawsuit).

It’s with equal parts fondness and irritation that I look back on being 20 years old and taking the 91 Owl bus back from City Nights to my Parkmerced apartment at 3 a.m. Fondness, because there’s nothing quite like being 20 and having post-club sing-alongs with your friends as a bus filled with all sorts of other colorful characters takes you all around the city. Irritation, because, nostalgia aside, taking an hour to get home on the bus when it takes about 15 minutes in a car is a pain in the ass.

Ever since Uber and other similar ride-sharing services became popular in San Francisco, anyone with a smartphone can summon a car to take them home in less time than it typically takes the 91 just to get to your bus stop to pick you up.

Although I go out more frequently now that I’m over 21 and can expand my clubbing experience to more than whatever events are being held at 715 Harrison St., I still frequently end up opting for the arduous late-night bus ride, because, despite the plethora of questionable individuals riding the bus at 3 a.m., I still feel safer on the bus than in an Uber.

Although I myself have never had a bad incident in an Uber, I’ve read enough horror stories to scare me away from taking them more often.

While I’m glad Uber is taking some responsibility for the safety of its passengers, I’m still a little wary of using the service. I’d rather pay the $2.25 to ride the bus around the city with a bunch of drunk people than pay the same in “safety fees” that might not actually keep me safe.

Illustration by Reid Cammack

Illustration by Reid Cammack

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