When taxi services like Uber and Taxify hit our streets, many of us thought we finally had a convenient way to get home safely. Not anymore.
JOHANNESBURG - Paying for a ride that might cost you your life.
Riders are raped, robbed and attacked in cars and now Uber is facing a multimillion-rand lawsuit by survivors.
Susan Dey, mother of singer Tamara Dey, is one of them.
Dey recalled the night she was raped, robbed and beaten by her driver and two accomplices.
"The driver wasn't very communicative so I was a little uneasy, but I wasn't listening to that feeling," she said.
"When he should have turned right he accelerated and went straight."
Dey said two men appeared behind her, one strangling her and the other holding her at knifepoint.
"They threatened to kill me. It was impossible to get loose," Dey said.
After the hours-long ordeal, the men stopped next to the road where they took Dey out of the boot and threw her down an embankment.
Lawyer Ulrich Roux said he has received instruction from Dey and ten other clients to register a class action lawsuit holding Uber responsible for the attacks.
"At the end of the day when Susan and the other clients entered the vehicles, they were doing so under the premise that Uber promises to offer safe and reliable service.
"Clearly in these incidents, this wasn't the case," he said.
Riders should use the following guidelines when using an Uber or any other metered taxi service:
Ask the driver to identify you. If he is a certified Uber driver he will have access to the certified software and the trip will be a valid and authorised trip.
Ask the driver to open the boot of the vehicle before you enter the vehicle. Rather have one uncomfortable minute than the alternative.
Do not supply your destination, rather direct the driver. If you are unsure about where you are heading, make use of your own GPS system on your phone and direct the driver accordingly.
Make sure the number plate of the vehicle matches the one on your app.
Make use of the “Share my ETA” option on the app. In doing so, a friend will know where you are heading and whether everything is in order.