Just after 9 p.m., the woman was waiting on the campus of Wayne State University when a black minivan appeared. Believing the vehicle was her Uber, she opened the van’s sliding door to find three men waiting inside. They tried to pull her in. She pushed herself back out of the van before it took off.
She was extremely lucky.
Licensed taxicabs are typically required to possess external markings that help the public recognize legitimate vehicles. In a split second, such easily identifiable markings make a world of difference.
In contrast to these markings, Uber provides passengers with a photo of the driver, the make and model of the vehicle, and license plate information. This is too much information to process in the critical moment or two when a vehicle pulls up.
External vehicle markings are a time-honored taxicab safety requirement. Uber refuses to clearly mark its vehicles, instead offering meager initiatives which inevitably shift the responsibility for passenger safety onto the passenger herself.
This was no time to be looking down at your phone.