Uber and Lyft have some explaining to do.I went from living in a small town in Pennsylvania to one of the biggest cities in America. Adjustments have been made. Pretty much everything is different: grocery shopping, where I park my car and the best place to get a good cup of coffee. The biggest difference is my new reliance on Uber and Lyft. But a new study shows that companies like Uber and Lyft have racist and sexist tendencies.
The National Bureau of Economic Research released results from a study on Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel in Seattle and Boston. The study looked at 1,500 rides and looked at treatment of minority members. The results? Not surprising.
Black riders took between 16 to 28% longer to get accepted by a driver in Seattle. The Boston experiment used "African-American" and "white" sounding names to compare results. Callbacks for "African American" sounding names happened 33% less than "white" sounding names.
The results for female customers is unsettling. Women are taken on routes 5% longer. Plus, they're overcharged.
This isn't the first Uber controversy. They've previouly been busted for discriminating against disabled individuals. Other drivers have been accused of kidnapping, abduction, and outright violence. But an Uber spokesperson told Bloomberg:
Discrimination has no place in society and no place on Uber. We believe Uber is helping reduce transportation inequities across the board, but studies like this are helpful in thinking about how we can do even more.
The authors suggests removing names and photos from user profiles and fixed fares to get better results.
This study isn't shocking. The presidential election brought out the worst in us. Racist and sexist comments are standard news pieces these days. It is important to remember how far America has come and the steps we need to take toward equality.
H/T: Jalopnik, Bloomberg