NBC New York
- A Lyft driver was violently attacked by a passenger and the incident was captured on video. NBC New York published the video online.
- The rider has been suspended from the platform, the company said, and police are looking to speak with him about the incident.
- Many drivers have told Business Insider they feel unsafe driving for apps like Uber and Lyft. Being assaulted by a passenger is one of their biggest fears, drivers have said.
A terrifying video published by NBC New York on Tuesday highlights one of Uber and Lyft drivers’ biggest fears: being attacked by a passenger.
On Thursday, the news channel reported, Eduardo Madiedo picked up a man and a woman in Queens who were headed to Mount Sinai hospital. For the first few minutes of the ride, everything was calm and running per usual. But about ten minutes into the ride, the male passenger becomes increasingly irritable.
"Drive faster, please!," he asks Madiedo in the video.
"I’m sorry man, I can’t get in front of the cars that are in front of me," Madiedo responds.
After another exchange, in which the passenger tells Madiedo he would drive faster by getting in the right lane, "in that hole right there," Madiedo responds: "Excuse me man, if you’re going to be disrespectful, I’ll just pull over right now."
That’s when the ride becomes every driver’s nightmare.
The male passenger removes his sweatshirt and punches Madiedo from behind, before trying to climb into the drivers seat of the moving vehicle. Eventually, he opens the passenger door and exits the vehicle as it comes to a stop.
"Oh my god," the female passenger says as she exits the vehicle, following the attacker, as the video comes to an end.
Madiedo wasn’t seriously injured, he told NBC4, but he’s rethinking driving for Lyft.
"I just felt like, less than human almost," he said. "I feel like I have to look for a new job or a new form of income."
He’s far from alone in that sentiment. In conversations with more than 30 drivers for many apps, including Uber and Lyft, Business Insider has learned that safety fears were top of mind for nearly all drivers.
While the companies perform background checks on drivers — though in some cases, like that of a convicted Somali war criminal driving for Uber in Virginia, those can fall through the cracks — there’s little to no verification of riders’ on any app.
It’s simple to create an account with a fake name, for instance, if a passenger is banned from the app. That makes it easy for anyone to take a ride, even if they’re under 18, the minimum age to hail a ride on Uber or Lyft.
"I’ve been attacked three times," Michael Pu, a driver for both Uber and Lyft in Washington DC, said in a recent interview. "Each time I filed a police report, but never felt like Uber or Lyft investigated the incidents."
Another driver, Jenny, who asked that we not publish her last name, says she only works during daylight hours to avoid unsafe situations. "I get rude and harassing comments from men in the day, so I don’t even want to know what it would be like at night when people are drinking," the New Jersey school teacher told Business Insider earlier in May.
In a statement to Business Insider, Lyft said it has permanently banned the passenger and stands ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation of the attack.
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft and the behavior described is unacceptable," a company spokesperson said. "There is no place for violence of any kind in our community. We have permanently banned the passenger and have reached out to the driver to offer our support. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation."
Lyft has a 24/7 critical response line, as well as options to dial 911 directly from the app which will share exact location and vehicle details with first responders.
The New York Police Department is looking to speak with the passenger in the video, NBC4 reported. It’s not clear if Lyft has shared the passenger’s name or other information with authorities. The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
"We have no control over the quality or safety of the transportation that occurs as a result of the Services," Lyft’s terms of service read.
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