Connecticut

Tips for a safer ridesharing experience

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - A college student in South Carolina thought she was getting into an Uber. She did not, and she wound up dead. 

The terrible tragedy is a rude awakening about the risks of using ride-sharing services, and it has colleges in Connecticut teaching students an important lesson about safety.

News 8 has heard about some of the risks of getting into a fake Uber. But the real Uber drivers we spoke to at Union Station say there are safety risks on their end too. Still, officials say the key to safety is identification. 

Emmanuel Bakwowi of New Haven said, "That is the first thing, identification. That is where the safety lies." 

Uber driver Emmanuel Bakwowi announces the customer's name before they get into his car.

Related: Lawmakers pushing for tighter rules on ridesharing

That wasn't the case recently for a South Carolina college student. A fake uber driver is accused in her brutal death. 

Bakwowi says there have been times people have tried to catch a ride with him even though they didn't order his car on Uber's app.

"I politely tell them this is not your car," Bakwowi said. He said situations like that aren't safe. 

Campus security at Quinnipiac said the biggest threat with rideshare apps are off campus when students are trying to get back home. They offer several tips to stay safe.

Don DiStefano, Lieutenant of Quinnipiac Campus Safety said, "Don't wait outside and appear to be waiting alone or distracted. Wait inside."

Related: Police arrest suspect for murder and kidnapping of University of South Carolina student

Emmanuel Bakwowi of New Haven said, "Make sure that the car that's arriving for you matches the make, model and plate of the car you ordered and before you get in the car ask the driver, 'what is my name'?"

Rideshare users say they feel confident there are ways to avoid fake drivers.

Iryelis Lopez said, "If I were in an unsafe situation, I would know what to do. But it is unfortunate that things happen like that."

Uber has a list of safety measures that include things like sharing your status with a friend so they can track your trip. For a full list, click here.


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