Despite the surface appeal of ride-sharing services, there are some important factors to bear in mind before hopping into a stranger's car to get to your destination of choice. Doing some homework up front will help ensure that you'll have a positive and safe ride-sharing experience.
Safety. You'll want to research how your ride-sharing service screens drivers. What background checks do they run before hiring a driver? Is it a one-and-done process, or are drivers regularly screened to account for changes to their criminal histories or driving records? Similarly, most ride-sharing services require drivers to use vehicles that are reasonably new. This makes it more likely that the vehicle will be in good working condition.
Cost. It may seem obvious, but you'll want to pay close attention to how much a ride-sharing trip will cost. Rates will vary depending on the service you use, the length of your trip, and even how much demand there is for rides at the time. Fares are usually quoted on the service's mobile app, providing you with that information prior to booking the trip. In some cases, using a ride-sharing service might be more cost-effective than using another mode of transportation, but you should be aware that certain holidays, rush hours, and special events can drive up prices dramatically. Moreover, transactions typically occur via a ride-sharing service's app, so fares are charged automatically to your credit card. That could be a convenient way to collect the fare, but there are risks associated with keeping your credit card information on file. Other payment options may also be available.
Insurance. You may wonder how insurance would come into play if you are injured in an accident while you are a paying passenger. Consider looking into the specifics of the company's insurance policies, especially if you use a particular service frequently. If you have a personal auto policy, it may provide coverage above and beyond the ride-sharing service's policy. You can also reach out to your state insurance department to find out about insurance requirements for ride-sharing services and how they might affect you as a passenger.