Does Uber Discriminate Against Passengers?

Company refuses to turn over trip data to authorities in California and NYC

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(Image: Uber)

Uber is fast booming business that has been of late marketing itself as a relief to clientele who suffer from discrimination and destination biases, reports Buzzfeed based on a neighborhood study in Chicago conducted by Uber that determined 4 out of 10 rides in the city start or end in underserved neighborhoods. Uber also claimed the same was true for New York City.

However, Uber has refused to furnish its data—date and time of trip, pickup location and license numbers—to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission. Uber is refusing to provide California and New York City with its trip data, preventing crucial oversight that could help prohibit drivers from discriminating against certain neighborhoods or passengers with disabilities, according to “‘Who’s Driving You?’”, which is a public safety campaign designed to educate the public about the dangers of unlicensed transportation companies. It is an initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), an international non-profit trade association whose membership consists of 1,100 licensed transportation companies.

Meanwhile, its competitors, Lyft and Sidecar, have each provided such data to California. As a result, a CPUC judge is threatening to revoke Uber’s license to operate in California, and the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission temporarily suspended five of Uber’s six operations.

The TLPA reports that Uber is currently refusing to turn over trip data in California and to New York City, despite previously providing the same information when it originally entered the New York market.  notes the TLPA, which has spoken out against the rise of unregulated taxi services—such as uberX, Lyft and Sidecar.

Regulators rely on trip data to make certain drivers aren’t discriminating against certain neighborhoods or against people with disabilities—such as those who use wheelchairs or people who are blind and rely on the assistance of service dogs. Uber has already generated controversy due to its drivers refusing to service passengers with disabilities. The National Federation of the Blind has sued Uber for refusing rides to the blind and putting a dog in the trunk of a vehicle.

“Cities can’t manage what they can’t measure,” said Mike Fogarty, President of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, in a press statement. “If Uber refuses to provide this critical data required by the authorities in its most lucrative markets, then Uber certainly won’t provide ride details to smaller cities. This refusal continues a pattern of defiance that repeatedly places the public at risk.”

At the same rate, persons of colors continue to complain of the difficulty in hailing New York City Yellow Cabs and destination discrimination among regulated cab companies.



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