Carpooling as a young woman continues to be horrifying

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Illustration from article titled Using Carpools While Woman Continues To Be Horrifying

photo: Mario Tama (Getty Images)

“You know we’re all the way here in the middle of nowhere. I could just go and keep you if I wanted to!

My Lyft driver laughed and assured me that he would never do that to a customer, of course – but it was just another notch in my ever-growing belt of horrific ride-sharing experiences. I laughed with him, because honestly, that didn’t surprise me; I’ve been through this shit before. It wasn’t until my husband called in a panic to ask me if I was okay that I realized that wasn’t supposed to be normal.

I think we are all familiar with carpooling. It’s basically an app-run taxi service where ordinary people drive you from point A to point B. I still remember the first time I heard about it in 2014 when my friend recommended that we take an Uber from downtown Austin to my apartment. . They became a de facto part of my college experience because I liked going places, didn’t like parking and struggled to understand public transport after a childhood spent in the boonies.

But taking a carpool as a woman has always come with a certain risk. You accept that you are essentially putting your life and security in someone else’s hands. These are people who go through a brief screening process, but are usually on their own unless they receive a complaint. And some, like my recent Lyft driver, try to isolate themselves from the complaints; the man I drove with last week didn’t let me out of the car until he watched me give him a five star rating and tip. I had to contact Lyft after I reached my destination to let them know that this guy had actually been really scary.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a ride-sharing driver has been weird. I doubt it will be the last, although I have now reached the point in my life where renting a car is a legal possibility in most states; I really doubt that I will leave myself at the mercy of anyone else from now on.

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There was time in college where I had a few drinks, then I drove an Uber home from the concert hall where I was. The driver parked but did not unlock the door until he asked if I wanted to go get something to eat with him right away.

Or the other time, a driver waited until I was strapped in before his friend appeared from the third row seat where he was lying; this friend then offered to sell me cocaine and, when I refused, tried to talk to me about it with a shoulder massage.

Or the moment a driver kept reaching out to touch my knee because he “wanted to see what my jeans looked like.”

Or the moment a driver got out of his car and tried to follow me to my apartment complex under the guise of making sure I got home safely.

Or the moment a driver told me how much he hated driving women because they were so hard to please to get a good grade, then he asked me to get out of his car on the side of the road. highway with half a mile to the left. walk to the airport because there was construction and he didn’t want to cross it.

Or the countless times a driver asked me why my boyfriend / fiance / husband allowed me to travel alone because men like this driver could easily take advantage of me. Which is usually accompanied by an assurance that they or they aren’t one of those men – but, seriously, my luggage is in their trunk, so even if I bailed out they could find me by my address (and yes, that one happened too).

Most of the time, I have good carpool drivers. Most just want to have a little chat about where I’m going or share a little bit of their life story. Many are more than happy to sit still, which is fine with me. I had a handful to give me a sales pitch for their pushing side. I am generally happy to spend the time and enjoy the ride.

But there are enough scares using the service that if I am traveling a long distance, in an unfamiliar area, drunk or going out at night, I will take the cancellation penalty on drivers until what i get a woman. I hate wasting someone’s time, but sometimes you end up wondering if one of these people will be the last person you talk to – or, at the very least, if they’re going to make you feel so bad. feel good that your adventure is ruined.

And I hate to be grateful that I was only made for Feel dangerous, because there are other women who have had so much worse.

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