Can we really use Uber without concerning about our safety because Uber’s report might suggest otherwise? Uber has released its first safety report on Thursday, and the conclusion is shocking, to say the least.
The report is of 84 pages consists of incidents from 2017 and 2018, plus incidents that were resolved before 31st October 2019. The report reveals that Uber has received nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assault, 464 reports of rape, and 19 cases of fatal physical assault. The fact that makes the number even more concerning is that the numbers are from just a fraction of the 2.3 billion trips recorded during the period.
The report was supposed to come after a CNN investigation which revealed that at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers. The investigation showed that the drivers were either arrested, wanted, or were named in civil suits. Uber’s late response, however, tried to contextualize the number of sexual assaults.
In their report, the cab-hailing service maintained that 99.9 % of their rides were completed without any incidences. Uber claimed that in cases of sexual assaults, 45% of the riders were from the accused party. They further broke down the numbers to show that 92% of the rape victims were riders while 7% were drivers. 89% of the victims were women or female-identifying individuals, while 8% of the victims were men or male-identifying individuals. Less than 1% were identified as gender minorities.
After the investigation by CNN, Uber reportedly increased its safety which included a partnership with RapidSOS. The company was known to send the information about the rider’s location to local police on the push of the emergency button by the rider. Uber also upgraded its background check policies to include an annual check on drivers.
After the commission of the report by the current CEO Dan Khosrowshahi, Uber revealed some of the developments done to make Uber more secure. One of the development is the in-app safety button which will share the name and information of the deactivated drivers with other platforms. Uber has also partnered with RAINN and is planning to expand sexual misconduct training for drivers.
The training is said to include the creation of the Survivor Support hotline to provide confidential crisis support. Another feature by Uber will allow riders to verify their drivers with a secure PIN code to report safety incidents to Uber. Uber is also partnering up with RALIANCE and is planning to create a resource centre. The centre will aim to improve the response to sexual violence and will help companies to adopt a consistent, fact-based standard.
In a recent incident, London refused to renew Uber’s license to operate in the city in November following some reports regarding a lack of safety issues and imposter drivers.
Lyft, a cab-hailing service similar to Uber, has also faced legal actions due to a lack of safety issues. Lyft has also pledged to release a safety report by the end of the year following a lawsuit for lack of transparency about the number of incidents. Uber sure has made improvements regarding the safety of its riders and well as drivers and will hopefully continue to do so.