We understand that your student’s safety is a huge priority for you and your family, so VCU Police is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. Earlier this week, VCU Police shared some safety tips regarding the use of ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft. They suggested several tips for your students to follow to ensure a safe trip:
1. Plan ahead. Before you request a ride, think about where you’re headed and review the safety features in the app so you know how to use them. Try to ride in pairs or in a group.
2. Request your ride inside. Avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with your phone in your hand. Instead, wait indoors until the app shows your driver has arrived.
3. Check the driver’s rating. If you are uncomfortable with the driver’s potential rating, cancel the ride and call for another.
4. Identify the vehicle. Before you get in the vehicle, verify the license plate, make and model match what’s listed in the app.
5. Identify the driver. Before getting inside the vehicle, verify the photo and name match what’s in the app. Also ask the driver “Who are you picking up?”
6. Protect your personal information. There’s no need to share your phone number or other contact information with your driver.
7. Be a backseat rider. If you’re riding alone, sit in the backseat. This ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space. Be aware that some vehicles have child-lock system capabilities, which lock doors from the inside.
8. Share your trip details with a friend. Uber users can tap “Share status” to share driver’s name, photo, license plate and location with family and friends. Lyft users can tap the “Send ETA” icon which will send a text message to family or friends. If your ride-hailing service doesn’t offer a status or ETA share option, snap a picture of the vehicle license plate and send it to a family member or friend.
9. If you have to ride alone: students, faculty, staff and any Richmond community member can use the LiveSafe app to have a trusted contact track the trip. (Download LiveSafe and choose “Virginia Commonwealth University” as the location.) Open the app and choose “GoSafe” and “SafeWalk”. Then choose “Ask friends to watch me walk.” The LiveSafe user can send their location to a friend, who can track their travels right inside the LiveSave app and watch travel on a digital map.
10. Follow your intuition. Trust your instincts and use your best judgement when ridesharing. If you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.
11. Buckle up. The Centers for Disease Control reports that seatbelt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries related to car accidents.
Sources: Uber, Lyft, VCU Police Crime Prevention Unit.