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Ride-sharing Uber convenient, but is it Uber safe?

[caption id="attachment_14898" align="alignright" width="200"]© Joey Khan Photography © Joey Khan Photography[/caption] The ride-sharing company Uber now accepts Pirate’s Gold as payment. But does that arrangement mean that using the popular service is a safe option for Seton Hall students? Sergio Oliva, associate director of the Department of Public Safety and Security, said in an email interview that, “Public Safety does not endorse any specific type or company of transportation.” Public Safety prefers that students use the SHUfly or SafeRide. However, Public Safety does “understand that the needs of the student(s) may be greater than what we provide,” Sergio said. Oliva added some safety recommendations for SHU students using Uber. These include ensuring the driver and the vehicle match the information provided to the user in the app, letting someone know you are taking an Uber, and having a charged phone in case of emergencies. When asked about the robbery on Sept. 14, Oliva said, “It’s always a great idea to use a form of vehicular transportation when traveling. Especially during the late hours of the evening. It reduces your chances of becoming a victim to a crime.” Speaking to Public Safety’s overall opinion of the company, Oliva said, “Uber has been a solid force in the transportation industry.” Public Safety has no reservations about the service as of now, Sergio added. Uber’s website lists requirements its drivers must meet to work for the company. These requirements include being 21 years of age, having at least three years of driving experience, an in-state driver’s license, as well as insurance and registration. Prospective drivers must also complete a thorough background check in order to start driving for Uber. These background checks are conducted through a company called Hirease, a background check company based in Southern Pines, N.C. Hirease screens potential Uber drivers for DUI (driving under the influence) and drug related offenses, fatal accidents, and incidents of driving without insurance or a license. If the driver passes the screening with no recorded offenses, they are eligible to drive for Uber, according to Morgan Tirpak, a freshman communications major, frequently uses Uber’s services. She said she has an overall positive view of Uber. Tirpak never had a bad experience with the company, but she said that one of her friends once got into a car driven by someone who was intoxicated. Despite this, Tirpak has used Uber for transportation to her job and leisure activities. Jordyn Puchino, a senior broadcasting major, also has a positive view of Uber. “I think it’s extremely convenient,” she said. “It’s also helpful that you can do everything right on the app.” Isabel Soisson can be reached at


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