July 13, 2017  

Google “Uber” and “deeply disturbing.” See it?

“Uber” and “deeply troubling” works, too. Uber uses the same rote response for news stories involving sexual assault of passengers by its drivers.

Here’s Uber’s full boilerplate of late: “What’s reported in the complaint is deeply troubling and something we take extremely seriously.”

Here’s something truly disturbing. Uber and Lyft drivers stand accused of 16 sexual assaults in news stories published between June 6 and July 12 of 2017. Sixteen in a 37-day span. An average of one every 2.3 days.

One accused Uber driver in Kansas City, Yahkhahnahn Ammi, served eight years of a 16-year prison sentence for attempted murder. While in prison, the future driver was known as Perrie D. Gibson.

When he got out, he changed his name.

Uber’s name-based background checks can’t and won’t screen out this attempted murderer. Uber has had other convicted murderers sign up with fake names.

Rather than us discussing this, let’s listen in on an UberPeople.net driver forum threadon this story:

“I guess an attempted murder conviction disappears off the uber background check with a name change,” says one driver.

“Sad that it’s that easy,” responds another.

“Or you can just have your brother who ISN’T a registered sex offender open a driver account and give you the phone,” chimes in a third.

Here comes an alternate view.

“Ummm. Fares are low. So ummm. Zero effs given. Not going through nsa style checks jyst to haul jerks around for 60 cents mile,” says “Skepticaldriver.”

By “nsa style” we can assume Skepticaldriver means fingerprint-based criminal background checks conducted by law enforcement. He or she is pointing to something that grates. Uber cuts fares again and again. The corporation has turned driving into such a crap job that this driver isn’t going to do one more thing that doesn’t make him some money. It’s adding insult to injury, Skepticaldriver seems to be saying.

After years of fare cuts, Uber has refused to require fingerprint background checks partially on the grounds these type checks will hurt driver retention. But it’s the fare cuts and other varieties of driver abuse which have really hurt driver retention.

Meanwhile, as previously noted: 16 reported sexual assaults involving (mostly) Uber drivers in 37 days.

Here’s how the Kansas City Uber driver story ends: “In a statement Uber says they are taking the matter extremely seriously.”

In an exceedingly hollow statement that signifies nothing.