real life

"I routinely lie to my ride-share drivers. This is why."

I have a confession.

I’m a good person, and value telling the truth in almost every situation.

But I find myself lying to ride-share drivers.

In fact, almost every time I get into a ride-share car, whether it be Uber, Taxify or Ola, I find myself in a web of lies.

A couple of weeks ago, my driver asked me if I lived alone. It was about 9pm, and I was heading home from work. I was immediately uncomfortable, despite living with flat-mates, and began to lie.

“No I live with my family actually, mum just made dinner and dad just got home from the station, he’s a police officer,” I heard myself say, before even realising I was lying.

It was code for “Mum knows I’ll be home in ten minutes and Dad knows too, you don’t want to mess with him so please stop asking personal questions and take me home directly.”

My lies are a safety net.

It’s a habit I have slowly developed over the years, after a string of creepy drivers.

There was the one who told me I was pretty, which prompted a 2am phone call to my mother to say I’d be home soon and could she unlock the front door for me, even though I don’t live with my parents.

Then there was the one who asked what time I finish work every day, asking “Is this your office?” before asking if I have a boyfriend.

For women, there is an emotional and a monetary cost to getting home safely.

Certain places, like dark streets, are off limits and we have to carefully navigate our evening to ensure we get home unharmed.

We have to closely monitor our bank accounts to ensure we have enough money to get a ride home, and we put our phones on airplane mode to make sure we have enough charge to both order a ride, and call a friend on the way.

These fares are not luxury. They are necessities, and the ability to walk kilometres home in the dark for men is a privilege.

I’m not saying men don’t get attacked walking home, of course they do, but it’s much more likely that women will be.

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These attacks take many forms, too. Whether it be a man slowing down his car to wolf-whistle, sending a young woman’s heart rate up, or a devastating sexual assault, or even murder.

This isn’t good enough. Men, offer to walk your female friends home, even if it seems like a short walk around the corner, and ladies, keep checking in on your mates as they head home. Gender equality is the responsibility of men and women, let’s even the playing field.

How to report inappropriate drivers.

Taxis.

You can place a complaint about a taxi driver by contacting the taxi service provider directly. Most providers provide a feedback form on their websites.

If you feel your complaint has not been managed correctly, some states have regulatory organisations you can elevate your complaint to.

The process for further complaints differs for each state. Should you feel your complaint has not been managed correctly, you are also able to lay a complaint with your states regulatory transport body.

Uber.

You can complain about an Uber driver both in-app and online.

On the app, select ‘Help’ and then ‘Trip and fare review’. From here, you can select your trip and submit details detailing how a driver was unprofessional.

Lyft.

Lyft operates a 24/7 contact support centre. From its website, you can request a call or email where someone will contact you about your issue.

From within the app, you can submit a ride complaint by selecting ‘Ride history’ and selecting a ride. From there, you can scroll down to the bottom to select either ‘Get help’ or Request review’.

Taxify.

If required, you can select the SOS button at the top right hand of your screen of the app during a Taxify ride.

You can also lay a complaint from within the app with as many details as possible.

If you have experienced sexual assault and are in need of support, please call 1800 RESPECT. That’s 1800 737 732. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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