The headlines have been rife of late with horror stories of passenger abuse involving popular ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft. According to statistics released by Uber on Thursday, which became the launching pad for a New York Times editorial, 3,045 sexual assaults, nine murders and 58 car-crash fatalities occurred through their app in the U.S. in 2018 alone. All this in addition to the fact that Uber’s license to operate is currently suspended across the entire city of London, after authorities discovered a “pattern of failures” regarding passenger safety.
In early December, 19 women and one man, who said they were either raped or sexually assaulted, filed lawsuits against Lyft. The victims highlighted company-wide negligence, with one stating, “It’s becoming more and more apparent that Lyft can’t be trusted to police themselves,” reported CBS.
Best Rides’ Head of Development, Marc Fantasia, sees these widespread ride-share service failures as an indication that it’s time to take your safety into your own hands, and those of your trusted friends and family; a process neatly facilitated by the Best Rides app.
So how exactly does Best Rides work?
Preparation and sharing
Before you book any trips, it’s time to set up your emergency contacts. Best Rides allows you to save one emergency contact and five additional contacts as well as groups of contacts—for example your Thursday night pub quiz buddies. The contacts will be on the receiving end of warning texts sent by Best Rides if anything errant should occur during your trip.
If your most trusted person is living overseas or on vacation, no worries. Best Rides sends emergency alerts to anyone in your contacts, and is compatible with any smartphone.
Before riding, Best Rides prompts you to take two crucial safety measures: upload a screen shot of the Uber/Lyft driver information and a photo of the license plate. If unusual activity should take place, Best Rides now has essential information on your driver safely stored.
Once you have the app downloaded, you simply enter your trip information, and a route and time estimate will be automatically generated. You will then be presented with different rates for the outlined trip as offered by different companies, allowing for a nifty price comparison opportunity. Once you decide which service you would like to use, select it, and the app will redirect you to the chosen ride-share app, where you can book your ride.
When your ride begins, you start a timer within the app, and since your location is being continually tracked by GPS linked to Best Rides’ server, any deviations from the planned route will be instantly flagged.
In the event of unusual and unplanned activity, such as a route diversion or a trip running longer than it should, you can either immediately hit the panic button and be routed to 911 or send an alert to your emergency contact or group that you are potentially in danger. Should you hit traffic, the app allows you to add time to the timer so as not to cause unnecessary panic.
Automatic protections are also in place for the same deviation situations, when you will be sent a series of push notifications by Best Rides to confirm your safety. If you fail to respond to these prompts five times, a panic alert will be sent out to your emergency contact, letting them know that you might be in danger, and giving them your precise current location and the driver information that you already uploaded. Your emergency contact will be encouraged to call you and, if you don’t pick up, to consider alerting the police. Should everything run smoothly, simply confirm your safe arrival within the app.
On foot? You’re covered!
Another great thing about Best Rides is its versatility. It works for tracking walks and runs entered into the app in exactly the same fashion as ride-shares, and can even be paired with your Apple Watch.
Fantasia, has described the app as a “protection tool”, especially useful for when riders are at their most vulnerable, such as after a night of social merriment.