San Francisco DA announces public education campaign to enhance safety for rideshare users

Byby Melanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
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If you're worried about your safety when you get into an Uber or Lyft, SF wants to help. The city just announced a public education program to enhance safety for rideshare users.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you're worried about your safety when you get into an Uber or Lyft, San Francisco wants to help.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced the Rideshare with Care Campaign Tuesday, a public education program to enhance safety for rideshare users. The San Francisco Police Department and rideshare company Uber joined the announcement.

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"The safety features that are built into the app don't work unless you're in the right car," said Uber spokesperson Andrew Hasbun.

To that end, the campaign outlines three points to keep riders safe:

The first is verify the license plate number, color, make and model of the car to the rideshare app.

The second is confirm the driver's name before you provide your name and make sure the driver matches the picture on your rideshare app.

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The third is share your location and destination with a friend, family member or someone you trust.

"This is a very safe service but when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong," said District Attorney George Gascon.

The DA said there wasn't any one incident that prompted the campaign. He declined to comment Tuesday about the alleged Rideshare Rapist case.

In July, Orlando Vilchez Lazo was arraigned on rape charges that allegedly occurred over five years. Investigators say he posed as a Lyft driver as his victims left nightclubs and bars in San Francisco.

RELATED: Woman says she escaped Lyft driver who was taking her in opposite direction

"What we saw in the Rideshare Rapist case was that the individual got into a car that was not an Uber or Lyft that they had actually ordered," said Commander Greg McEachern with the San Francisco Police Department.

"I think that the need for this campaign is pretty obvious, you see the stories in the news and so do we and this is an issue that is 100 percent preventable," said Hasburn.

Uber says in May it rolled out an emergency button for riders and one for drivers just last week that connects them to 911 when activated.

Uber also says it launched a feature called trusted contacts, where you can set up certain people to share your trip automatically with them every time you take a trip.

A Lyft spokesperson was invited to the announcement but the DA said that person could not attend. He added that Lyft had agreed to work with the DA's Office.

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