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10 Tips For The First Time Rideshare User

Using rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft is common for travelers to get around at destinations. They offer convenience with upfront prices. In some areas, you can even choose the level of luxury you may want.

This article gives you the basics to get started, plus safety tips.

What Is A Rideshare?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, rideshare is a service or network through which ridesharing trips are arranged.

Rideshares are where you can use an app to summon a driver to take you where you want. Your car and driver are not traditional taxis.

What are the leading rideshare companies?

Within the USA, Uber and Lyft are the most popular rideshare companies. There may be regional or other companies, but those are the leading companies.

How to get started with your first rideshare

Ridesharing companies make it easier to get a ride from where you are to where you want to go. It can save time and is more accessible than finding out what taxi company is available in your area, especially when you are new or visiting.

  1. Download the app for Uber or Lyft (if you haven’t already)
    • If you download both apps, you can compare prices.
  2. Set up an account with your photo and payment information (your image is for the driver’s safety so they can identify you)
  3. Put your destination into the app.
  4. Follow instruction
  5. When the car arrives, verify that the vehicle and driver match the information provided on the app.

Not Just Anyone Can Drive For Rideshares

Rideshare companies use a vetting process for hiring drivers; you can check Lyft’s and Uber’s criteria. The main takeaway is that these companies check driving history and conduct criminal background checks.

Watch Out For Scammers

Sadly, not everyone follows the rules and looks to scam or harm you. Rideshare companies do their best to keep you safe, but unfortunately, scammers are out there. You have to do your part to protect yourself as well. Point three has essential tips for avoiding scammers.

Ten Tips For Rideshare Users

While not all of these safety tips are practical for every trip, as many you can do can help keep you safer.

  1. Plan a safe trip; ensure your pick-up and drop-off points are safe and accessible places to find. Like a lit location a few doors over instead of a dark area.
  2.  Whenever possible, wait inside for your ride. Imposter drivers look for people who appear to be waiting for a car. The app will send alerts when the driver arrives or is close to you.
  3. Before entering a vehicle, check for a company logo in the window and verify that driver and vehicle information matches the app’s info. The app gives you the car’s color, brand/model, license plate number, and the driver’s name and photo. If none of these matches, it’s a red flag.
  4. Don’t tell the driver your name; ask the driver who they are there to pick up. The driver’s app shows the name of whom they are picking up, so they should know your name. 
  5. For your safety, sit in the back seat when possible.
  6. Sharing is caring; tell a friend you hired a car and where you are going. A simple text with your plans or screenshots, or you can hit the “share status” once your trip has started, are ways to inform others you are on your way.
  7. Protect your information because there is never a reason to give any personal information to a driver. Billing and payments are made in the app using the card on file. Drivers do not take cash payments. Uber anonymizes phone numbers for everyone’s safety, so drivers do not need your phone number.
  8. Let your gut be your guide if something feels wrong or dangerous, safely leave the car, and call 911
  9. Rate your driver; this gives the parent company feedback on their drivers. It is a way to reward great drivers and weed out not-so-great drivers.
  10. Be kind and respectful to your driver; remember, you ride in their car.


The chance of something terrible happening is low. But by following these suggestions, you’ll be safer, and it will help you avoid fake drivers who want to cheat the system or hurt you.

If you want to use ridesharing, start here, Uber or Lyft.

Be safe and travel safely!


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Photos in this article are courtesy of Uber.

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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