Most of us would never get in the car with a stranger. No matter how clean-cut someone appears, we have all watched enough evening news to know we cannot take our safety for granted. And yet, every day, hundreds upon thousands of travellers hop in the backseat of a completely unknown vehicle with a person they have just met. “Surely the car service has done their due diligence. I am safe,” they assume, if the thought even crosses their mind as they reluctantly test their luck.
‘For most travellers, safety can be an abstract concept. In fact, most people do not fully appreciate the very real importance of safety requirements until their safety is compromised.’ – Carey International
We, at Maiden Voyage, know that finding safe and secure transport when travelling can be a challenge – and sometimes, even the most thorough of plans can fall through at the last moment. We have heard our fair share of mishaps and horror stories – from sharing train cabins with total strangers to airport kidnappings – and as our own training teaches, the best way to decrease risk is to plan ahead and prepare.
Standards of public transport vary from country to country, and even city to city, so for safety during your next business trip it is always advisable to book a ground transportation service provider ahead of time.
Here are our top 5 checks to complete when booking:
1. The highest possible standards?
First things first- do your research into the transport company. Have a good look around their website and the services they offer. Are they well-established? Do they have clear service guidelines and a booking system? Are they reputable? Look for official certification, as well as any testimonials. Customer reviews are often a good indication of quality. If there aren’t any on the main website, search for Google or social media reviews.
2. Safe chauffeurs and drivers?
Find out more about the provider’s personnel. They should all, of course, be fully licensed and certified to drive, but there are other key factors to consider. Do drivers and chauffeurs undergo strict security and background checks? Is there a limit to how many hours they can drive (for example, within a 24hr period)? And are all these checks done both prior to hiring, and during their employment?
A driver you can place your confidence in and trust to get you to your destination is crucial.
3. Safe vehicles?
The drivers may be fully licensed, checked and regularly tested, but can you be sure of the same for the service’s vehicles? Do some research on the vehicles they use, and the standards they are held to (if they are at all!). Consider maintenance, presentation and performance. Are safety inspections of vehicles regularly conducted? How old are the vehicles being driven? Some ground transportation providers also unannounced spot inspections: a definite plus.
Are vehicles cared for and kept in good condition? For instance, you may wish your vehicle to be non-smoking. For these types of checks, customer reviews may prove the most useful.
While this isn’t research you can do prior to travelling, make sure to cast your eye over the vehicle before you get in it. If, once you have arrived at your destination and are directed towards your car, you realise it doesn’t hold up to the original safety description, don’t risk it. If the front wheel is looking flat and the seatbelts are faulty, assume the vehicle isn’t fit for the road.
4. Extensive insurance?
Consider the insurance offered by the provider. Are there comprehensive policies offered? Unlike the disparity of some car sharing services across different geographies, ground transportation service providers should be offering adequate insurance.
5. Checks on arrival?
Unless clearly stated on their website/info page/social media, arrival procedure checks may need to be confirmed by getting in touch with the company, or at the very least requested at the time of booking. The most organised plans can fall through, and where ground transportation is concerned, a big risk is the moment of pick-up. As we, at Maiden Voyage, know from traveller accounts shared with us, driver impersonation is all too easy. A nameplate takes seconds to copy. Can you be provided with a description of your driver? Will they be holding an official company nameplate? And can there be a password exchange for maximum surety?
Even if you have confidently and correctly identified your driver, now check that they are fit to drive, with no visible injuries which may impair driving ability, nor seemingly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
For more tips like these plus exclusive extras, join our mailing list here!
Maiden Voyage in partnership with Carey International
Carey is the world’s leading provider of chauffeured services and ground transportation logistics management and Maiden Voyage’s preferred ground transportation provider. With an exclusive global network spanning more than 1000 cities worldwide, Carey offers unrivalled safety, consistent service standards, and innovative travel technology for both travellers and arrangers.
Get access to 10% off your reservation here.