CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports, drivers are demanding major safety changes from Uber and Lyft.
- Rideshare drivers are also targets for carjackers here in Chicago. One driver was killed last week by someone he picked up. Now others are demanding major safety changes from Uber and Lyft. CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey joins us live. Megan, you spoke with some of those drivers.
MEGAN HICKEY: Right, Erica. These drivers point out that they have to go through a background check process in order to drive, but Uber and Lyft don't require passengers to verify their identities. They say it's something simple that could protect them.
- We want safety! When do we want it?
MEGAN HICKEY: Among the chanting today in front of Uber's Goose Island hub--
- Javi Ramos! Javi Ramos!
MEGAN HICKEY: -- the name of the 46-year-old rideshare driver, Javier Ramos, who was carjacked by his passenger last week and fatally shot in the head. Today his family told us they don't want any other families to feel this pain.
HORTENCIA RAMOS: Uber, how simple is it for you to just have us take a selfie, take a picture? Be the person that they're expecting to get into the car.
- When do we want it?
MEGAN HICKEY: Ramos's death was the last straw for this group of drivers, in conjunction with the Independent Drivers Guild, who are demanding that Uber and Lyft make changes to their security precautions in light of the surge in carjackings, starting with verifying customer identities.
LEMONT LINER: I think photo requirements would be good. They're more interested--
MEGAN HICKEY: Lemont Liner was carjacked by his Lyft passengers at gunpoint in November. He told me he hasn't been able to get behind the wheel of a rideshare since. His passengers identified themselves by the correct name, but there was no picture associated with the profile.
LEMONT LINER: They used my Lyft rider app to order 12 other rides that night. They ended up robbing at least one more driver, of his car.
- Please, Uber, we need you to hear us now!
MEGAN HICKEY: I reached out to Uber and Lyft specifically about the demand for companies to integrate some type of ID verification into their apps. Both sent us a long list of their current in-ride safety features, but neither addressed ID verification. Lyft would only say, "we encourage all riders to upload a photo." We asked again. Tonight, we're still waiting for a response.
BRYANT GREENING: They should be changing their apps. They should be changing their policies. They should be ensuring safety for everyone.
MEGAN HICKEY: Now, the Independent Drivers Guild is also asking for a voice-activated panic button for drivers in emergency situations. Uber said they already have an in-app panic button. Lyft said they already offer these types of emergency help services through ADT.
Live in The Loop, Megan Hickey, CBS 2 investigator.