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Uber’s Culture Harms Riders and Drivers, Too

There is work to do in undoing how Uber’s culture has impacted and still does the vast world beyond its corporate headquarters. Specifically, how Uber’s policies and practices touch riders and drivers.

Exhibit A: Uber’s policies and riders

Uber has spent millions and millions of dollars in opposing a standard-industry safety practice for for-hire cars: conducting fingerprint-based criminal background checks on drivers.

So, when a young L.A. woman recently reportedly wakes to sexual assault by her five-time felon Uber driver, it’s a direct result of Uber’s policy impact. If law enforcement had reviewed this driver’s criminal history, he would probably not have been approved. But because Uber has ferociously fought to screen drivers itself utilizing commercial background checks—which cannot access an individual’s full criminal history—the man’s felony convictions were likely overlooked.

This woman’s pain—and similar agonies commonly suffered by Uber passengers—is the direct result of a public policy stemming from Uber’s corporate culture.

It’s a remnant that should be eradicated.

Exhibit B: Uber’s practices and drivers

If you have just a shred of compassion for human beings vying to make a living, Alison Griswold’s Quartz piece on Uber’s alliance with shady New York auto dealers will make you furious.

Uber, though its ads and onboarding process, has lead New York City drivers to cruelly abusive leases that resemble indentured servitude.  Slavery, some of them say.

To wit, leases:

  • with weekly payments as high as $500,
  • which allow the lessor to effectively garnish the driver’s wages by electronically removing payment from the driver’s earnings before the driver receives them,
  • that allow the lessor to report the car to police as “lost or stolen” if a driver misses a payment and neglects to respond to communications for five days.

The point of these leases is obviously to hold drivers in place. In short, business.

In fact, that’s the tie-in between Uber’s crappy background checks and its abusive treatment of drivers: money.  Fingerprint background checks slow down driver sign-ups, says Uber. And after repeatedly cutting fares, Uber is struggling with driver retention.

Keep the flow of drivers coming, no matter what, and lock them in place if you have to. That’s Uber’s way, that’s Uber’s culture.

Regardless of whether or not Kalanick is really gone, these are ongoing policies and practices which should be undone.

  • JavaidHameed

    July 2, 2017 at 6:12 am Reply

    Uber has tarnished public transportation standard with no regards to safety, security or welfare of the general public. They surely should have a quota of certified drivers plus a govern rates set by the transportation authority based on current inflation and earnings of average Americans.

  • JavaidHameed

    July 2, 2017 at 6:14 am Reply

    Millions of drivers are suffering because of Uber dirty tactics.

  • Ryan

    July 3, 2017 at 1:58 am Reply

    Uber’s hope is that this will encourage passengers to stop “eating in the car, slamming the door, or trying to pile in more people than seatbelts” based on driver feedback. Now Uber says it is rolling out an update to make your passenger rating visible in its app to encourage better rider behavior.

  • Ahmed Elsaadawi

    July 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm Reply

    UBER is allowed to contradict the transportation regulations by direct support from the government as the government exempt UBER drivers to get chauffeur license , the government surrenders to enforce them to get city permit like other cab drivers , the government also gives up the power of the law to fix the fare rate and allow them to denote the rate according to their needs at the time they choose without previous permission while the regular taxicabs are considered to be guilty at any attempt to interfere with the fixed rate also the government renounced to enforce UBER to work under CPNC numbers like the regular taxicabs and allows them to use their own license plates giving them the green light to saturate the transportation market with unlimited numbers of all purposes private cars making a condition of oligopoly .so the government is the fundamental portion of the problem and in spite of executing firmly the law it allows UBER to tampering with the regulations and ordinances

    • S Callaghan

      July 7, 2017 at 1:17 am Reply

      Could not agree with you more! I have been directly involved in the battle, as my community sought to “Level the Playing Field” between the taxi industry and UBER by deregulating the taxis. Can you believe that? The city government is obligated to insure public safety and secure tax revenue – neither of which UBER conforms to. Rather than demand that UBER meet the same regulations that the taxi industry must, they simply remove the safety measures and revenue streams, leaving the public and community as a whole unprotected and vulnerable. It all comes down to corporate dollars, neatly tucked into the pockets of our politicians. They have rewarded a corporation that flips a middle finger to community law and regulations, abuses it’s drivers, and consistently puts the safety of the public in jeopardy with sub-standard “background checks”. To put the cherry on top, our state has now bowed to UBER by deregulating the entire state. One of our most progressive cities (and you would think – UBER – Friendly) put the issue before the citizens in a city wide vote. They opted to remove UBER rather than allow them to operate their corupt business model. UBER left rather than conform to the same regulations which taxis do. Now our state has allowed them to flip that middle finger up HIGH in the face of Austin, TX and enter the market regulation free! Now, tell me….what could affect such obnoxious measures on the state legislation other than a sizeable pay-off.

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