A lot of cases of robbery, theft, violence, rape, and kidnapping or even murder have been experienced all tied with digital taxi. Any given time you enter a car driven by a stranger then you surrender a little control to that person. This is why you have to consider your personal safety.
Below are the top 10 tips from Ken, PTG operations manager. He trains and manages thousands of drivers and has had lots of interactions with police and security in Kenya.
So when it comes to hailing a taxi, safety is key. Here are his top 10 safety recommendations.
1.Book a ride ahead of time
It’s 2019 and online hailing Apps are the daily norm. Most Apps can give you a rough estimate of how much you need to pay. Having a good idea of what you should pay and confirming the price with the driver ahead of time can mean less hassle when it’s time to pay the bill.
Many dispatchers can also tell you the price, so get a quote ahead of time if you can. PTG Travel has a 24/7-call center (0709 801 000) and you can request for a price estimate if you need a second confirmation apart from the App.
2. Check the driver’s identification.
Most of the time the hailing Apps will always show verified identification of the driver, the car, number plate and their photo. Take your time to identify if the driver’s information in the App matches the driver in waiting this includes if the driver looks like the picture in the App. There have been instances of people pretending to be drivers and take advantage of the passengers.
PTG Travel undertakes intensive driver’s training to ensure we have professionals picking their clients. This also includes customer service, making sure the client feels safe in their car. You safety is a priority.
3. Use caution when calling your driver in public.
The information you give your driver is really sensitive. Identify a private place to make the call confirming details to your driver. Anyone might overhear your conversation and take advantage if you are not careful. An example would be if you make the call in a busy sidewalk someone might contact an illegal taxi using your information to come pick you up. Luckily PTG Travel vehicle has the company stickers to make it easier to identify your ride and also prevent illegal taxis coming to pick you up.
4. Refuse to share your ride with a stranger.
To save money you may decide to share your ride with a stranger, but to stay safe you need to make sure that you are not sharing your ride with someone you don’t know. This can be a ploy with the driver to rob or assault you. Safety needs you to be extremely vigilant.
Incase a driver comes to pick you up with a stranger already in the car, PTG Travel has a 24/7 call center which you can report such incidences. You might be saving the next client by reporting. Be part of the safety.
5. Don’t hail a ride alone when drunk.
It is a good idea to call / hail a ride when you’ve had a bit too much to drink. However, for your safety it is advisable to take a buddy with you. The drink may make you drowsy or sleepy and it’s not the best situation to be in when defending yourself from someone who wants to harm you.
Having a non – drunk buddy along with you will help you get home and also keep you awake.
6. Sit at the backseat.
This is more advisable to women. Sitting at the backseat makes you less accessible to the driver and more unlikely to be attacked. Bonus point, If you are travelling alone sit in the middle seat. You are less vulnerable there from passers-by who may want to mug or assault you.
This is a common incidence in Nairobi, Kenya where thieves target passengers near the window and snatch away their mobile phones or valuables.
Keep your vulnerable near you and accountable.
7. Check the driver’s rating.
This tip is very important yet dismissed by most people. These hailing Apps give you an option to rate your driver after every ride. Now if the driver has a poor rating then it means previously either the client didn’t like their services or they were ‘acting fishy’ then simply cancel the ride. Better safe than sorry.
We advice you to always rate your driver after every trip for safety purpose and for feedback purposes to the App company on how their driver performs on their daily Jobs.
PTG Travel app gives you another additional feedback option apart from just rating. You can send a detailed feedback directly from the App. Our operations team will always respond and follow up incase of any incidence.
8. Always update your loved one.
Call them or send a simple text telling them you have hailed a ride. Later on send them your trip details so they can also know where you are going and the estimated time that it will take you to get to your destination.
Once in the car call them telling them where you are going and that you will tell them when you reach your destination. This will cause the driver to change their mind if they had ill intentions. Incase you don’t call back your loved one will know something is wrong and they can alert the police.
PTG Travel has a feature called ‘share my ETA’ where you can share your Taxi details to anyone via Whatsapp or even text. This enables your loved one to keep tabs on you incase of anything. Additionally our call center monitors all rides and they will always call the client incase the ride takes too long or the driver switches off the App without finishing the ride. This ensures that all passengers reach their destination safe and sound.
9. Keep conversation strictly professional.
This tips is mainly indicated for women. They should always try to avoid any personal conversation with the driver. This can be indeed hard to do but please remember you are allowed to not having any conversation with your driver. If he/she insist kindly let him know you are not comfortable talking about certain topics or you simply wish to continue the rest of the journey in silence.
If he was continuously trying to push for a certain conversation during the ride give him a low rating or contact the App company for a complain. You will be playing a big role for the next passenger.
10. Visually check on the vehicle .
Branded hailing App vehicles act as a security insurance. Research shows that passengers are more relaxed when they enter a branded vehicle. This also acts as sign of professionalism on the part of the App Company.
Let’s look at it this way; If two cars approaches you one is branded lets say with a PTG Travel Logo and the other is not. Which vehicle are you more likely to enter? The branded one right? This is because if anything happens you can always know which company to give a call.
Here at PTG Travel our drivers after completing training they are given a PTG Travel sticker for their car. This acts as a sign that the driver has been proven to be competent and reliable. All vehicles with the sticker are added to the system for tracking and security purposes. Our client safety is our priority.
Insecurity can be a big problem but with small safety measures you can be sure you reach your destination safe and sound. I hope these few tips will help you. If you have any other safety tips please comment below.