Jacksonville-area ride-share drivers say they're focused on safety during Florida-Georgia weekend

Expensive and dangerous weekend

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida and Georgia fans have gradually filled Downtown Jacksonville with Bulldog and Gator pride this week.

RV City by TIAA Bank field opened its lot to fans from across the country for the widely anticipated Florida-Georgia game.

While it brings in big business for the local economy, it can be one of the more dangerous weekends for ride-share drivers.

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According to an online poll, Action News Jax viewers said they would most likely take an Uber ride home.

The second most popular transportation strategy was Lyft and a small portion voted for a traditional taxi.

A local Lyft driver, Andrew, said the game, combined with the Halloween weekend, makes for one of the busiest weekends of the year. He has driven with Lyft since April 2018 and has given nearly 3,300 rides so far.

"Who am I getting in my Lyft," Andrew said. "Because that area is a bad area and a lot of people carry guns.
That's the main thing that goes through my mind, is am I going to make it back home."

Andrew asked Action News Jax not to release his last name for privacy.

He said a busy weekend can lead to more problems in his car.

“They’re not easy with not knowing who their driver will be,” Andrew said. “The same as the driver not knowing who the rider will be.

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But a simple hello lets everybody know or feel a little more comfortable that it ain’t going to be that bad of a ride.”

As a new policy, Lyft is now requiring all drivers to complete a safety course on sexual violence, called RAINN.

Drivers have until December 15 to complete the course, or they do not quality for the position.

Andrew provides sweet treats, phone charges, and hand sanitizer to make his riders feel more comfortable. 
He said a friendly attitude has helped deescalate a situation.

"You could've been feeling sad, depressed, or even thinking about committing suicide," Andrew said. 
"Get a free gift, step out of my Lyft, and right away you realize someone cared about you."

TIAA Bank Field released an advisory warning drivers that parking is limited. It recommend a ride-share option as an alternative.

More can be found here.