With more than four billion rides completed in 2017 alone, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are poised to take over the taxi industry in no time. However, due to the as-of-yet largely unregulated nature of the industry, ridesharing can bring on a unique set of concerns for passengers. Uber and Lyft horror stories are reported on a seeming daily basis, with incidents ranging from exorbitant ride costs to sexual assault. A lot can happen when a stranger drives you, but what do rideshare passengers actually worry about when they request a ride?
To learn more about these fears, we surveyed people across the United States about their apprehensions when employing a ridesharing service, specifically Uber and Lyft. The questions centered around common topics such as sexual harassment and personal safety, and other, more unconventional fears centering around general quality of life.
We asked 500 men and women to answer survey questions, rating them on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 denoting the most serious concern. We then took the average rating for these questions and ranked them from highest to lowest to display what people worry about the most during Uber or Lyft rides.
Overall, passengers were most concerned with drivers being “creepy” or “weird,” which we define as a driver who commits actions which make a passenger’s ridesharing experience uncomfortable. Following that concern were two driver safety-related matters: fear of distracted driving, and a fear of getting in a car accident.
Interestingly, passengers were least concerned about any issues regarding personal safety. Fear of being sexually assaulted, being hit on by a driver, and being sexually harassed were the bottom three on our list of concerns.
Rideshare Fears According to Gender
When broken down by gender, the results begin to diverge significantly. While, both men and women have the same three concerns at the top , they are in different orders. Men are most concerned about distracted driving, followed by fear of car accidents and creepy/weird drivers – while women put creepy/weird drivers on top, followed by driver safety issues such as distracted driving and car accidents.
The starkest contrast in concerns between genders comes with fears surrounding personal safety. Concerns of being hit on or being sexually harassed and assaulted are firmly at the bottom of the list for men, while these issues are dispersed more evenly for women, with sexual assault ranking fifth and sexual harassment ranking eighth. Women are also much, much more concerned about drivers knowing where they live than are men. Given the recent and constant stream of stories involving sexual assault by drivers, this perhaps comes as no surprise. Interestingly, women are least concerned with the potential of having an overly talkative driver, while it was the fourth highest concern for men.
Rideshare Fears Distributed by Age
When categorized into four age groups (18-29, 30-44, 45-60, 60+), the same concerns persist across the board, with most having a creepy driver, distracted driver, or fear of a car accident in their top three concerns.
The exception comes in the 18-29 group, where the number two concern is loss of property, such as keys, phone, wallet, or purse. This is notable, as this is a fear that only seems to persist in younger passengers; by comparison, none of the other age groups have this in their top five concerns.
Passengers aged 45 and older also seem to be more concerned of drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol than younger passengers. The concern is ranked fifth in older passengers, while it does not rank in the top five for younger respondents.
Rideshare Concerns by Category
Broken down by categories, the top concerns are apparent. When it comes to road and driver safety, distracted driving ranks at the top. In matters regarding personal safety, passengers are most concerned about drivers knowing where they live, a valid concern for both men and women. In other general concerns regarding personal comfort, a creepy and/or weird driver takes the top spot.
Overall Feeling of Rideshare Safety
To conclude the survey, we asked three additional questions regarding their feeling of safety when using rideshare vehicles at night, alone, and overall, with 10 being the safest. Overall, both men and women feel somewhat safe when taking a rideshare vehicle.
Men generally felt safe across the board, with an average score of 6.7. By comparison, women denoted an average of 5.6 in general safety. Both genders felt the least safe when taking a rideshare vehicle at night, but women felt considerably less safe, with men averaging a 6.3 while women averaged a 4.7.
We surveyed 500 people in the United States and asked them questions about their rideshare concerns. The questions were pulled from a smaller scale focus group. Respondents rated each question on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of concern. The surveyed group contained slightly more women than men, with women accounting for about 53 percent of respondents.
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