MASSACHUSETTS AND MARYLAND REJECT THOUSANDS OF UBER, LYFT DRIVERS

April 14, 2017  

This week the news arrived that Massachusetts and Maryland have rejected thousands of already approved Uber and Lyft drivers.

51 applications from sex offenders. That’s how many Massachusetts found driving for Uber and Lyft.  Here are the other reasons applications were rejected:

  • 352 for criminal-history incidents related to “sex, abuse, and exploitation,”
  • 958 for violent crimes,
  • 152 for operating under the influence.

In a follow-up Boston Globe article on how other states may be considering more stringent background checks, Lyft spokesman, Adrian Durbin made this point: “It would be a mistake to prevent good and qualified drivers around the country from earning needed income as a result of one state’s rule-making.”

We wholeheartedly disagree.

Massachusetts recent findings offer incontrovertible, bulletproof data that law enforcement and governments should be background-checking Uber and Lyft drivers. The sampling was enormous: 70,789 applications. The reviewer—the state of Massachusetts—is unassailable.

In fact, we believe Massachusetts would have found more bad apples had law enforcement been able to use the gold standard of criminal background checks: fingerprints.

It would be the most reasonable move in the world for other states and cities to emulate Massachusetts supplemental background checks of Uber and Lyft drivers. And to further bolster the effectiveness of government checks by using fingerprinting.

Uber loves to hide data, produce questionable data, and diminish the value of data which is critical of its processes. But Uber and Lyft will be hard-pressed to deny the value of Massachusetts’ findings.

Besides, it’s not just one state.

Maryland’s supplemental background checks have rejected 2,850 applications for criminal offenses or driving-related issues.

2,850.

If you multiply Massachusetts’ and Maryland’s rejected applications by the number of states allowing Uber and Lyft to conduct their own background checks, it begins to explain why our site lists 217 reported sexual assaults and harassments against Uber and Lyft drivers.

 

http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/blog/massachusetts-maryland-reject-thousands-uber-lyft-drivers?utm_content=buffer984d1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Another SF Woman Held Hostage By Ride-Hailing Driver

 

A 71-year-old woman was kidnapped by a ride-hailing driver around 5:20pm yesterday in the Outer Richmond.

According to police, the victim was the last passenger in a "ride sharing Pool." The driver stopped a few blocks from her set destination and threatened to drive further if she did not give him more money.  

When the victim refused to give him money, the suspect locked the doors and began driving "erratically," the SFPD reports. He "eventually" dropped the victim off at 40th Avenue and Balboa, blocks from her destination, and fled.

The suspect has not been identified.

If this incident sounds eerily familiar that's because this is the second report of a female ride-hailing user being kidnapped by her driver within the past week.

On Monday, police reported that a 21-year-old woman was held hostage and sexually harassed by a ride-hailing driver in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 10th. The woman was driven to a secluded location but later released, uninjured, by her assailant—who has not been arrested either.

In both cases, the SFPD withheld the names of the ride-hailing companies the suspects were working for at the time of the attacks.

SFPD public information officer Carlos Manfredi tells Hoodline that "typically" the SFPD does not release the name of the ride-hailing company a suspect was using "because the person driving is working as a contractor."

For clarification on whether it is lawful to release the names of the ride-hailing companies involved in such incidences, Officer Manfredi said he would have to contact the city attorney.

We're reaching out to the City Attorney's Office and will report back with our findings if and when we receive a response on this matter.

Update, 9:46am: John Coté, communications director with the City Attorney's office, confirmed to us that it is lawful for SFPD to withhold the name of the ride-hailing company in cases where a contractor commits a crime on the clock. 

"Under the California Public Records Act, law enforcement agencies have discretion about what information to release in an active investigation," he said. "The police department can withhold certain information, pending the completion of the investigation."

http://hoodline.com/2016/12/another-sf-woman-held-hostage-by-ride-hailing-driver

24-Year-Old Woman Kidnapped By Rideshare Driver

A woman was kidnapped early Saturday morning by her rideshare driver.

According to the SFPD, the intoxicated 24-year-old victim was picked up from an unknown location and driven to a secluded area by an unidentified male driver around 2:20am on December 10th.

Police say the suspect made threats and unwanted advances toward the victim. After she refused his advances, the suspect dropped the victim off at a motel on 2700 block of Lombard Street (between Baker and Lyon streets), and fled.

The victim was not injured, and no arrests have been made.

SFPD public information officer Robert Rueca declined to name the rideshare company the victim and the suspect were using at the time. He said that the investigator on this case will "exhaust every means" to identify the suspect, working with the rideshare company and the victim.

This is not the first time a rideshare user has been kidnapped by a driver in San Francisco.

Back in March, a 22-year-old woman was kidnapped and assaulted by a suspect whom she mistook for her rideshare driver while leaving a nightclub in SoMa.

And in January, a similar incident occurred in the Tenderloin, where an intoxicated 22-year-old man was taken on a ride and robbed at gunpoint by a suspect that he thought was sent by Lyft.

http://hoodline.com/2016/12/24-year-old-woman-kidnapped-by-rideshare-driver

A North Texas Family Gets Outrageous Uber Charge


November 9, 2016 10:20 PM By Jeff Paul

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Taken for a ride, a DFW family is in shock after discovering a near $400 Uber charge after their first Dallas Cowboys game.

Laurie Smith said about an hour after the Eagles game on October 30th, she requested an Uber XL for her family to get home to Keller.

The trip to AT&T stadium cost them about $40 earlier in the day.

But the 20-mile, 30-minute trip home ended up costing them $362.81

“It’s literally highway robbery,” said Smith. “I just thought it was a rip off. I mean, how could you charge nine times the amount I paid to drive one place to hear just to go back.”

Smith said their Uber driver first drove them to the wrong side of Arlington, then rerouted back to their home in Keller.

The charge did not appear until after they got out of the vehicle.

“I could have taken a stretch limo if I wanted,” said Smith.

After sending several emails and reporting the ride, Uber offered to refund $79.

Uber told Smith there was “surge pricing” that night. Smith said there was no warning of it on her phone or app.

“I’m familiar with the surge charges, I’ve had one before,” said Smith.

What she does not understand, Smith’s Uber app shows after the refund, she was charged $283.81 cents. But further down on the trip details and receipt, it shows the total that night was $43.36 with no mention or explanation of surge charges.

“If they had told us that, we would have never gotten in the car. We could have gotten a taxi,” said Smith.

Smith said it is not about the money, but about warning others.

“There might be some young couple who spent all of their money to get tickets here and then they’re going to get ripped off by Uber,” said Smith. “It’s going to ruin their time.”

After several emails, a spokesperson responded and said it looks like there was surge pricing. Uber is now checking to see if the user was properly warned or if any other issues arose from the ride.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/11/09/a-north-texas-family-gets-outrageous-uber-charge/

Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting teenage girl in Laguna Beach

Nov. 8, 2016 

Updated 3:23 p.m.

A 22-year-old Uber driver has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was a passenger in Laguna Beach, authorities said Tuesday.

Samer Alaaeldin Mahran is accused of sexually assaulting the girl in his car near her home in Laguna Beach early Saturday, said Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Tim Kleiser.

Kleiser said police were called at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday regarding a sexual assault in an Uber car. Uber assisted police in identifying the driver, he said, adding that Mahran was arrested hours later at his home in Huntington Beach.

He said Mahran had worked for Uber for less than a year.

A spokesperson for Uber could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mahran was charged Tuesday with four felony counts of rape by use of drugs, forcible oral copulation on a minor over the age of 14, sexual penetration of a child over 14 by a foreign object and force, and unlawful sexual intercourse, according to court records.

He is due in Orange County Superior Court Tuesday for arraignment.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/uber-734716-mahran-beach.html?utm_content=bufferfe7a6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Boy gets kidnapped by Uber driver, Uber asks cops to wait for ‘permission’ to give details

Rideshare Companies are NOT safe for children. As soon as the driver turns their phone off the vehicle tracking is gone!
— Jaime Hjelm (Fleet owner with A#1 Cab Dispatch Inc.)

The Uber officials kept on giving excuses without giving details of the cab’s whereabouts, the police said.

TNM Staff| Monday, October 31, 2016 - 10:30

An Uber driver abducted a fifteen-year-old boy, Gavin (name changed), for over six hours in Bengaluru on Saturday, according to a police complaint by the parents. 

According to The New Indian Express, Gavin had booked a cab at 6:30pm from his tuition center in HSR Layout and the accused driver, identified as Tabrez, reached the pick-up point in 15 minutes.

His parents started getting worried when Gavin had not reached by 7:30pm. Narrating his ordeal, Gavin said that he had been forced to crouch in the rear leg space for over three hours as the driver drove around.

According to the Deccan Herald, Gavin’s father got a call from the cab driver saying that Gavin had been abducted and would be released only if he gave money. 

Gavin’s parents could not contact Uber and sought help from a friend, who asked them book another cab and get the Uber office number. 

The Uber officer gave Gavin’s parents the number of the driver, however, he told them that he had dropped the boy near his house at 7:30pm. After repeated queries, when Tabrez’s replies were unconvincing and when he also switched off the mobile, the couple sought help from the police. 

The Varthur police contacted the driver. Fearing arrests, Tabrez left the boy in front of a hotel in Whitefield area at 12:30am but took boy’s school bag and phone. 

Police said that Uber did not respond properly to their request for information. “They kept on giving excuses without giving details of the cab’s whereabouts. Despite the gravity of the situation, they said that they were required to take permission from the seniors and gave no details,” the officer said

Update: DCP East Boralingaiah told TNM that the driver has been arrested. He also added that the details are sketchy and said the parents did not mention anything about a ransom. 

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/boy-gets-kidnapped-uber-driver-uber-asks-cops-wait-permission-give-details-52166

Study Finds Racial Discrimination by Uber and Lyft Drivers

Researchers suggest anonymity for passengers hailing a ride as a possible solution.

 

Eric Newcomer

October 31, 2016 — 6:00 AM EDT October 31, 2016 — 1:51 PM EDT

Drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. in Boston canceled rides for men with black-sounding names more than twice as often as for other men. Black people in Seattle using Uber and Lyft Inc. faced notably longer wait times to get paired with drivers than white customers. The findings come from a study published on Monday by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Washington.

"In many ways, the sharing economy is making it up as they go along," said Christopher Knittel, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and an author of the study. "A lot of this is a learning process, and you can't expect these companies to have everything perfect right out of the gate."

A new generation of technology companies have begun to grapple with how they can minimize racial discrimination. Airbnb Inc. recently released an extensive report studying racial bias on the site and proposed some changes to its policies. The home-rental company committed to offering more training for its hosts and hiring a more diverse workforce. It sent e-mails to customers over the weekend saying they must agree not to discriminate in order to use the site starting next month. However, Airbnb has resisted advocates' calls to remove photos of guests and hosts from its platform.

In the case of ride-hailing apps, researchers similarly believe that names and photos are an issue. Such information gives drivers the means to discriminate against prospective riders. Uber doesn't show customer photos to drivers. Lyft does, but passengers aren't required to provide a headshot. Both San Francisco-based companies give riders' names to their drivers.

"We are extremely proud of the positive impact Lyft has on communities of color," said Adrian Durbin, a spokesman for Lyft. "Because of Lyft, people in underserved areas—which taxis have historically neglected—are now able to access convenient, affordable rides. And we provide this service while maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community, and do not tolerate any form of discrimination."

The study, conducted in Seattle and Boston, included almost 1,500 rides. Four black and four white research assistants—split evenly among men and women—ordered cars over six weeks in Seattle. All used their photos on the ride-sharing apps. A second test was held in Boston with riders "whose appearance allowed them to plausibly travel as a passenger of either race," although they used either "African American sounding" or "white sounding" names, the researchers said. The study found that Uber drivers disproportionately canceled on riders with black-sounding names, even though the company penalizes drivers who cancel frequently.

“Ridesharing apps are changing a transportation status quo that has been unequal for generations, making it easier and more affordable for people to get around,” Rachel Holt, Uber's head of North American operations, said in an e-mailed statement. “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 one are helpful in thinking about how we can do even more.”

The research also observed discrimination in the taxi industry—a well-known, decades-old issue. The paper doesn't compare the rate of discrimination between traditional drivers for taxis or ride-hailing apps. Uber has suggested that it doesn't offer tips in its app, as many drivers have asked for, because they can introduce racial biases.

Lyft and Uber face different issues. While researchers found that drivers took noticeably longer to accept ride requests from black men on both services in Seattle, total wait times were the same for both races on Lyft. On Uber, total wait times were longer for black men. Drivers using Lyft didn't cancel on black riders disproportionately, but the researchers said that because Lyft shows riders' names and faces upfront, its drivers could simply screen out black passengers. Uber doesn't show names until after the driver accepts the fare. "In Lyft, you can discriminate without ever having to accept and hit cancel," Knittel said.

The researchers proposed changes that Uber and Lyft could make to reduce discrimination, including not identifying passengers' names, more severe repercussions for drivers who cancel after accepting a ride and periodic reviews of drivers' behavior to look for racism. However, Knittel acknowledged in an interview that there are advantages to providing personal information, such as creating a friendlier and more efficient experience. "There's a trade-off here," he said. "There is a potential benefit from showing names and photos, and yeah, I think we would agree with that. These companies have to weigh those two effects."

Bottom of Form

While conducting the study, researchers also observed that women were sometimes taken on significantly longer rides than men. "Other female riders reported 'chatty' drivers who drove extremely long routes, on some occasions, even driving through the same intersection multiple times. As a result, the additional travel that female riders are exposed to appears to be a combination of profiteering and flirting to a captive audience," the researchers wrote. The paper floats a possible solution to that problem: upfront fares—something Uber has already begun to roll out.

The authors of the study, along with Knittel, were Don MacKenzie, an assistant professor at University of Washington; Yanbo Ge, a doctoral student at the same Seattle-based university; and Stephen Zoepf, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/study-finds-racial-discrimination-by-uber-and-lyft-drivers

 

North County Uber, Lyft driver arrested in Sexual Assault Investigation

 

BREAKING: An 18-year-old Palomar College student was allegedly sexually assaulted by the Uber driver when she requested a ride home.

By Maggie Avants (Patch Staff) - September 21, 2016 6:55 pm ET 

ESCONDIDO, CA — A former local girls basketball coach and one-time high school and college star basketball player was behind bars Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting female fares while working as a commercial ride-share driver in northern San Diego County.

Jeremy George Vague, 37, former girls basketball coach at Calvin Christian High School in Escondido, was booked into county jail in Vista last weekend on suspicion of kidnapping with intent to commit robbery or rape, forcible sexual penetration and assault with the intent to commit a felony, according to Escondido police.

Vague was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The San Marcos resident — who is 7 feet tall and weighs 270 pounds, according to jail records — allegedly assaulted at least two women he picked up for rides while working as a driver for Lyft and Uber, Lt. Justin Murphy said.

One alleged victim was an 18-year-old Escondido resident who requested an Uber ride on Friday, Sept. 16, from Palomar College in San Marcos.

"Instead of taking her to her residence, he turned off his Uber app and took her to another location and sexually assaulted her," Murphy told reporters during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. " ... He was arrested at his home later the same evening."

During the course of investigating that case, Murphy said Escondido police learned that Vague was at Palomar College on Sept. 6 and allegedly tried to lure a female student into the car. The student did not need a ride and had not requested one, so she reported it to campus police — who told Vague not to return to campus, Murphy said.

In another incident, a 19-year-old Escondido woman who received a ride from Vague was allegedly sexually battered when they arrived at her residence. Vague reportedly asked her if she wanted to take a photo with him, at which time he allegedly touched her and her 19-year-old female friend inappropriately, Murphy said.

Investigators believe there may be additional victims who have not come forward.

Vague drives a 2014 blue Chrysler minivan with license plate 7SH182, according to Murphy, who added that Uber and Lyft have been cooperative with the investigation and that Vague has been suspended from his employment with both companies pending the outcome of the case. Vague worked for Uber for three months and Lyft for about nine months, Murphy said.

Escondido police have taken Vague's van into custody and are processing it for evidence.

As a student athlete, Vague was a second-team All-Coast Conference basketball player at Canada College in Redwood and set scoring and shot-blocking records for San Marcos High School, where he was twice named most valuable player, and for the Utah State University Aggies, according to the latter team's website.

http://patch.com/california/carlsbad/north-county-uber-lyft-driver-arrested-sexual-assault-investigation-police

Uber accused of cashing in on bomb explosion by charging almost double to take terrified New Yorkers home

‘SHAME ON YOU’

Passengers hit out at the taxi firm for hiking their prices in the hours following the blast in the Manhattan area of the city that killed one person and injured 24

BY GEORGE SANDEMAN

18th September 2016, 1:18 pm

TRAUMATISED families caught up in the New York bomb blast have accused Uber of cashing in on the tragedy by charging almost double to take them home.

Furious passengers have taken to social media to slam the taxi firm in the wake of theblast that killed one person and left 24 injured in the Manhattan area of the city.

 

TWITTER / SARAH BERTOLOZZI

A screenshot from the Uber app showing surged prices in New York last night

Uber reportedly charged between 1.4 and 3 times the standard fare with one city worker saying he had to pay twice as much as usual.

Mortgage broker Nick Lalli said: “Just trying to get home from the city and Uber f****** doubled the surge price.”

Another Twitter user said: “My $11 usual ride home to Chelsea from Midtown Manhattan was $32 thanks to surge pricing from Uber because of the Chelsea explosion, thanks.”

Jessica Keenan Wynn wrote: “Come on Uber, 1.8 surge pricing after explosion in Chelsea? I’m disgusted. People are trying to get home safe. Shame on you.”

Earlier in the evening Uber posted a tweet saying they had removed surge pricing in the Chelsea area but passengers in other areas of Manhattan said they were still being charged higher than normal fares.

Brittany and I successfully made our way out of Manhattan and into NJ and are fine with everything except uber's surge pricing

— Marci Mason (@marciesque) September 18, 2016

 

Sarah Bertolozzi was in Manhattan and posted what appeared to be a screengrab from the app that showed her fare being 1.8 times higher than usual.

Shaun King, a journalist at the New York Daily News, said reports of higher fares were true after he and his family found themselves stranded in the same part of the city.

He wrote on Twitter: “My family and I were out in Manhattan and many of our train lines were closed. Uber prices surged up.”

Michael Cohen, executive vice president of The Trump Organisation and special counsel to the presidential nominee, said: “NYC explosion causes residents to attempt to get home. Uber taking total advantage of chaos and surcharging passengers 1.4 to 1.8 times.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1805286/uber-accused-of-cashing-in-on-bomb-explosion-by-charging-almost-double-to-take-terrified-new-yorkers-home/#comments

Uber driver prowling outside home of female passengers

SEPTEMBER 5, 2016

Uber Driver Arrested For 5 AM Creep Act

SEPTEMBER 5--Today’s creepy encounter with an Uber driver comes from St. Petersburg, Florida, where a worker with the transportation firm was arrested for prowling outside the apartment of two women he had dropped off around 5 AM Sunday.

Cops allege that Christopher Cuccorillo, 40, “had dropped off two young females” about an hour before a witness called to report hearing Cuccorillo “in the back of the condo building tampering with the rear window of their apartment.”

According to a criminal complaint, the witness reported spotting Cuccorillo “walking back and forth” behind the condo in an area secured by a six-foot fence (and which is “not within public view or open to the public”).

When confronted by police, Cuccorillo claimed that he was “checking on the females per their request due to their intoxication.” But when officers spoke with one of the women she “advised none of them made that request.”

During questioning, Cuccorillo’s story “changed several times” and he was “not able to dispel officer’s alarm.” Consequently, Cuccorillo (seen above) was arrested for loitering and prowling, a misdemeanor.

The Uber driver was booked into the Pinellas County jail, from which he was released late Sunday morning after posting $250 bond.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/florida/uber-driver-in-trespass-arrest-749302

Another Boston Uber driver nabbed on Rape charges

9/3/2016

Uber Driver Charged With Raping Passenger In Boston

CBS Boston

State legislators are blasting Uber’s system for conducting background checks after another driver for the ride-hailing giant was accused of raping a customer in the Boston area — and are calling on the company to impose stricter standards.

“You can’t be a $60 billion company and walk away from people on your platform raping women or men and think it’s OK and turn your back on it,” said state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, calling for the media and public to put pressure on the ride-hailing company to change its policies. “This is where we have to hold Travis (Kalanick, Uber CEO) accountable.”

Michael Vedrine, 32, of Dorchester, was arraigned in Dorchester District Court yesterday on two counts each of rape and assault and battery after he allegedly attacked a woman he picked up while driving for Uber in Boston on Wednesday. He was ordered released on personal recognizance.

Vedrine joins a list of other Uber drivers charged with sexual assault in the Boston area, some of whom had criminal records. Paul Griffin, 28, of Malden, was charged with open and gross lewdness after driving with his pants down earlier this week. He had been charged with exposing himself to two women near Downtown Crossing earlier this year.

Darnell Booth, 34, of Dorchester, was charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in Everett in July. He had a 2012 conviction of assault and battery.

Alejandro Done, 47, of Boston, was convicted in 2015 of aggravated rape, kidnapping, and assault and battery for an attack in 2014. He was also connected to five previously-unsolved sexual assaults in Boston between 2006 and 2010.

Forry also called on Mayor Martin J. Walsh to support fingerprinting Uber drivers, a position that would put him on the same page as police Commissioner William B. Evans, who has strongly backed the policy.

In a statement yesterday, Walsh said he supported “strong background checks for drivers that weed out individuals who have a history of criminal activity that deems them unsuitable for these jobs, as well as stringent safety standards so the public can access a range of safe and reliable transportation options.”

Last year, Forry co-sponsored regulations with state Rep. ­Michael Moran that would have required Uber drivers to be fingerprinted. That was rejected in favor of a law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in August that will mandate a state-run background check for Uber drivers in addition to Uber’s third-party sourced background check.

The regulations, which must be implemented by next August, require Uber to submit driver information to the Department of Public Utilities, which will then run its own check and certify drivers.

Oswego Uber driver accused of using passenger's credit cards

 An Uber driver has been charged with using a passenger's credit cards after she left them in the back seat of his vehicle in Geneva.

Farzad Khamissi, 37, of the 400 block of Dancer Lane in Oswego, faces four counts of felony unlawful use of a credit card.

On June 5, a passenger reported that she had used the Uber ride-share service early the day before in Geneva and thought she left her cellphone and credit cards in the back seat of the vehicle, Oswego police said in a statement. Khamissi is accused of using the credit cards at several Oswego businesses, charging a total of more than $500, according to police.

Oswego detectives issued a warrant for Khamissi's arrest July 28, setting his bond at $10,000, according to police. He turned himself in Aug. 9 and was later released on bond until his court date, they said in a statement.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-uber-credit-card-st-0904-20160902-story.html

After another Uber driver is arrested, Everett Mayor pens a letter to ride-hailing company CEO

 

The first incident involved an Uber driver getting arrested and charged with the rape of a teenage girl.

In the second incident, which occurred on Sunday, an Uber driver was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. A teenage girl reported him to police, saying he exposed his genitals to her. The Everett Police Department identified the man as Paul Griffin, 28, of Malden, and said he was due to be arraigned on Monday.

The first driver had an "extensive" criminal record, while the second driver had "several open cases" similar to the charges he was arrested on, DeMaria said, calling both incidents "extremely disturbing."

The drivers "never should been allowed the opportunity to drive for your company," DeMaria wrote.

"It is clear to me that the current driver screening system is simply not working, and recent ride-share legislation passed here in Massachusetts will not be implemented for several months," he said in his letter to the Uber CEO.

DeMaria wrote he is interested in establishing a local licensing process for Uber Drivers and to "partner with you to better protect our community."

An Uber spokesman didn't immediately have a response to DeMaria's letter.

According to Everett Police, patrol officers attempted to stop the second Uber driver, but the vehicle accelerated into oncoming traffic, turning down a dead end before the suspect fled on foot. The officers eventually caught up with him and arrested him, police said.

According to Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley's office, Griffin has an open Boston Municipal Court case for "open and gross lewdness." He was arraigned on March 26 for allegedly exposing himself to two women in downtown Boston, and bail was set at $500.

DeMaria in a statement said the state Department of Public Utilities has not yet implemented new regulations requiring criminal background checks for drivers with ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The mayor again called on the state Legislature to tweak the law and include fingerprinting as part of the background check.

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans has also criticized the law over the lack of a fingerprinting requirement.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation in July setting up a two-tiered background check system. The company would complete one and the state Department of Public Utilities would also complete one on drivers.

http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/index.ssf/2016/08/after_another_uber_driver_is_a.html

Uber's Criminal Habits

"This is a really good article we found its about a minute read, but worth it!"

by Mason Freeman 8/9/2016

 

Uber has always been illegal. Since it’s very beginning Uber has been declared illegal in every market it has ever run it’s gypsy jitney taxi scheme. Uber doesn’t pay taxes, maintain a local office, or even operate a phone line accessible to customers or it’s own drivers. Uber’s surge pricing is often a suprise to first-time app users, who can’t ever remove their credit card from the Uber ridesharing service.

Ridesharing is a term originally meaning when a commuter might share a ride with a neighbor in exchange for a little gas money. Now in the age of Apps, any company engaged in giving automobile rides in exchange for money are commonly referred to as ridesharing companies. Uber likes to describe it’s part-time driver partners as entrepreneurs, and cite work whenever you want as one of Uber’s best features. Uber says the flexible schedule and surge pricing encourage ride availability for it’s customers, the customers it claims it doesn’t have because Uber is not a taxi company.

Uber doesn’t pay any taxes anywhere. Uber, a fly-by-night company, has legal issues everywhere it operates. Criminals love Uber. Criminals drive for Uber, and many criminals use Uber as passengers, sometimes at the same time as credit card fraud within Uber is rampant. A criminal Uber driver will use stolen credit card information to hire themself, ironically a paid ride not aided by the ever present promo code is an indication of fraud and any Uber driver with too many paid fares without promo codes often find themselves deactivated. Uber is unable to patch some security flaws because the fixes would make the app unable to function. Uber is the largest source of hacked acccounts ever, and both Uber driver and passenger accounts are available for purchase, cheaply, on the darknet.

Uber claims that it’s drivers giving rides for money are not ‘Taxi drivers’ nor employees. Uber does require that it’s partners in their corporate criminal enterprise work according to it’s app demands, or the Ubered driver is fired. A form email and a Uber app that won’t allow login informs the non-employee that they are fired. Fired Uber drivers are often reacitivated once the smoke blows over regarding the incident or complaint that got them canned. Why? Because Uber is desperate for drivers and new victim customers.

A bus driver is not a taxi. A limousine driver is not engaged in taxi work. There is a reason taxicabs have reserved parking and regulated rates at city airports and bus and train stations. Taxicabs have been regulated and de-regulated in many cities and taxi markets across the country throughout history. It is an endless argument, one that politicians mostly love. Those who say ‘Why not’ to Uber’s do as it pleases business practices don’t seem to care about the consequences, and are clueless about taxicab regulations.

Because entry barriers to Uber employment basically amount to putting down the cheetos and working a smartphone from the couch it is not suprising that when it comes to recruiting 50,000 new drivers each month Uber is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Gangs, drug dealers, and career criminals flock to Uber as well as unsuspecting unemployed elderly who happen to own a car.

Get Out Of My Car! Uber driver’s video goes viral.

Uber has payday-style loan lease agreements available to wannabe Taxi drivers who don’t own a vehicle. $600 a month Toyotas are the norm. When the Uber driver quits paying, it’s just another profit generating repo to fluff the Uber company books.

Ubered investors are told Uber is worth $60-$80 Billion, and you always have to capitilize the word Billion for some reason, and are most famous for their Saudi Arabian and Chinese investors. Uber doesn’t own any taxicabs. Uber has lost money month after month since the day they started. Uber refuses to have an IPO, which would mean opening their financials to scrutiny by Wall Street regulators and government officials.

Mayors, city council members, state senators, governors and reporters have all been given unlimited Uber ride credits for themselves and any family members. Their contacts, SMS messages, emails and all other details of their smartphone usage has been sent upstream to Uber’s U.S. based servers. Their credit cards can never be removed from the system and deleting the app just means it runs in the background invisible to the unsuspecting Ubered.

Uber drivers can’t make any profits at their standard fares which is why they rely so much on surge pricing and canceling rides to generate an income. All Uber drivers find out that after the honeymoon is over, the longer a person is an Uber Partner, the more hours one has to work to make the same amount of money. Many Ubered drivers are trapped in their below minimum wage jobs, and Uber likes it that way.

Uber drivers are unsafe drivers, amateurs trying to do a professional’s job. Ubered drivers have more accidents, from which they often hit and run, because they are not used to being on the road for many hours every day. Uber drivers are notoriously ‘pervy’ and often speak english as a second language poorly. Uber drivers hide their activities, afraid of being seen by police or taxi drivers as they practice their street crimes, knowing that Uber often backs up their open criminality by paying tickets and court fines.

Uber employs a huge number of lawyers and law firms, something Ubered investors didn’t count on when they bought into the trendy dream that taxi drivers and companies were getting rich cruising around meeting new and interesting people. Despite high powered lawyers, ex-cia and ex-whitehouse arch criminals, Uber has been expelled from many city, states and countries.

Uber has been banned, declared illegal and sued, in most everyplace it operates today. Uber is commonly known for it’s wrecks, rapes, and credit card abuse. Reporters love Uber because it gives them something to report, and the story is easy to write. Uber is the most criminal corporate ponzi scheme since Enron’s and it’s collapse will likely be as quick. Uber’s failure in China is just further proof that Uber has jumped the shark.

Taxi companies generally care about their customers, have been in business long before Uber came along, and will be around long after Uber is shut down. Uber is being sued by it’s customers, it’s non-employee drivers, and soon it’s Ubered investors, many of whom have already agreed to payoffs in exchange to signing agreements not to talk about their Ubered nightmares.

Whether it’s price-fixing, unpaid fees and fines, liability for labor law violations, tax evasion, or privacy violations Uber faces the inescapable consequences of the way it has conducted itself. Uber has proven that any market can be disrupted with Race To The Bottom cheap pricing, the results of which are cheap and dirty.

The supply of unsuspecting is not infinite, and is destined to run out in a spectacular crash and burn. Nothing that Uber does is sustainable. Nor has it demonstrated any novel successes. It’s dismal performance at large crowd conventions and surge pricing during terrorist disasters indicate the morality and ability to deliver on-the-street results that Uber is capable of. Will greed win? Is a cheap, third world taxi ride what the public really wants?

Maybe the public will think differently when they find their auto insurance rates on the rise because of the increase in hit and runs. Maybe the public will like Uber less when they buy a used car that has been Ubered and had it’s mileage rolled back, it’s Uber wear and tear conveniently hidden.

Uber never returns money, ever. Uber will give you free ride credits when you have been overcharged, or been billed for a Uber trip you never took, but they don’t reverse charges. Send them a twitter, because you can’t call or email them. The Ubered don’t have a local office, anywhere. Where they do have offices, they are guarded so that Uber drivers don’t come in and protest.

Uber drivers are well known for their use of piss bottles and shitting in people’s front yards or the side of the street. Many are unemployable and only get out of their parent’s house to protest to make Uber legal so they can sign up and get their $500 bonus and start making YouTube videos. Uber driving can even make millionaires, haven’t seen that YouTube video yet, it’s hilarious. From "I'm making $1000 a week" to "I’m quitting Uber", YouTube Uber drivers usually complete the emotional journey in less than a year.

Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, can’t go anywhere without being hassled except geeky startup conferences where he gets paid to lie. ‘Tricks and Hoes’ is his term for venture capital investors. All of his former companies were sued out of existence. Bandit taxi companies have always existed, and Travis is the Al Capone of our times. Sure, a crack dealing Uber driver selling dime bags of weed in a leased Toyota makes money the first week out, but is it sustainable?

When will anyone see an Uber IPO? Not anytime soon, likely never. A company with no assets and no product beyond this week doesn’t have much of a future and Uber executives are jumping off the sinking Uber ship. How many lawsuits does it take to put a modern unicorn silicon valley app company out of business, only time will tell.

Maybe Uber will be put out of business by an especially tragic incident, like when Uber Driver Dalton went on his spree killing in Kalamazoo. Uber is busy lying for the courts on that one. Fact is, Uber sent the Kalamazoo spree killer to pick up more taxi fare paying customers even as his victims lay dead and bleeding. Uber won’t even acknowledge any responsibility or even talk to the parents of the 6 year old girl an Uber driver ran over. Uber is doomed by it’s own incompetence and shoddy business practices.

Is it really cheaper to hire an Uber driver driving a Hertz rent-a-car than renting a car. Many Ubered passengers sign up for 90 cent a mile rides and then discover the real-world cost of three times what a taxi cost. It’s called getting Ubered, and if you let it happen to your Grandma you are a bad person, no two ways about it. If Grandma is driving the Uber, it’s even worse.

The profits of running an illegal criminal enterprise are the same as they have always been: prison. When will Travis Kalanick do his perp walk in handcuffs and have his computers shut down? Taxi drivers worldwide, from London to South Africa, from Brazil to New York, wait and wonder: How long? Police, supposedly the backbone of a civilized society, should be ashamed. People who use an illegal Uber, even those who think they should decide what laws to obey, should be ashamed. The only bigger losers beside Uber drivers are the braindeads who pay them for a classless ride.

It’s not widely known, but the fact of the matter is no good taxi drivers have ever lost the ability to make a good living as a respectable taxi driver. Uber is able to deflate and suck dry any taxi market they flood with drivers, they are a huge embarrassment to all who make their living as a on-demand for-hire driver, but at the end of the day all Uber brings for competition is a pervy cheap unreliable ride, often in a Toyota or Honda, often costing more.

In any city Uber operates, the amount of the driver sign-on bonuses and amount of the ever-present promo codes(‘free rides’) is a good indication of when Uber is done scraping the profits off the backs of hard-working taxi drivers, often working to support families. The inevitable Uber news stories and Uber lawsuits are a painful reminder to politicians and companies that have screwed the pooch. When Uber quits a city, only the cheapskates squeek.

‘Need a ride?’

This article dedicated to the many dead, run over, raped, robbed, left standing on the side of the road, credit card fraud victims and the many other Ubered victims whom Travis has gotten rich off of with his Uber fly-by-night bandit taxi jitney operation. Uber is still illegal and on a 90 MPH race off a cliff. The TAXI trade has always, and will always survive.

Source- https://medium.com/@madstudios30620/ubers-criminal-habits-9c47ff5f83b4#.8zsmr02xw

Uber missed driver's battery conviction; now charged with rape of 16 year old

The Uber driver charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in Everett was convicted in 2012 of assault and battery on a correctional officer, records show — a violent felony that should have been flagged by Uber’s background checks.

Darnell Booth, charged Thursday with raping the girl after talking to her over Snapchat, was convicted of assault and battery on a correctional officer in Essex County in 2012, according to his CORI record.

Barbara Maher, a spokeswoman for the Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins, said Booth was being held in pre-trial lock-up when he physically resisted and hit a prison guard.

The Herald reported yesterday that Booth has a lengthy criminal history, including serving time in prison for drug dealing in 2008 and another assault and battery charge in 2001. Prosecutors at his arraignment said Booth has a violent, eight-page criminal record.

Uber said much of Booth’s criminal record was outside the seven-year window the company is allowed to view under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Yet Booth’s 2012 conviction falls squarely within that period.

An Uber spokesman acknowledged to the Herald last night that the company’s background check failed to pick up Booth’s 2012 conviction but did not provide a reason.

Booth also had his driver’s license suspended multiple times since last year, according to RMV records.

He has also been charged with a number of other felonies and misdemeanors — including another assault — which were dismissed or continued without a finding.

Booth’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Booth’s driver’s license had been suspended five times since the beginning of 2015, in each instance because of an outstanding warrant, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

In the wake of Booth’s arrest, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria called on Beacon Hill to stiffen the state’s new ride-hailing law and screen drivers more thoroughly through fingerprinting. Under the new law, the state will do its own background checks on drivers for ride-hailing outfits.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2016/08/uber_missed_driver_s_battery_conviction

Man posing as Lyft Driver Wanted for Murder

 

August 10, 2016 5:31 PM By Robbie Owens

CARROLLTON (CBS11) – Arnold Pinilla called for a ride sharing service to get home safely from a Carrollton restaurant in the early morning hours of July 31.

But, the 34-year-old who loved soccer and family gatherings was laterstabbed to death in the street after getting into a car that was driven by an imposter.

“He was a really sweet guy, really happy,” said his mother, Esperanza Balzguera, while wiping away tears as she faced reporters in the family’s Garland home. “He loved to get together.”

As detectives released surveillance video Wednesday of the suspect’s vehicle and a sketch, the family is pleading for someone who recognizes him to come forward.

murder suspect vehicle (surveillance)

“He [the suspect] needs to pay for what he did,” said his sister Claudia Reyes, interpreting for her mother. “She knows that nothing will bring her son back; but, he needs to pay for what he did.”

Relatives insist that the man could not have been anyone that Pinilla knew– as he was a fun-loving, likable person who never got into fights– and was more likely to be seen exchanging hugs and good times instead of disagreements.

“He was the soul of everything,” said Reyes, “always very uplifting.”

According to Carrollton Police, when Pinilla and his girlfriend climbed into the car they quickly realized something was wrong.

“Inside the vehicle, it didn’t look like a ride share car should look. The driver’s behavior wasn’t what it should have been for a professional ride share service. It wasn’t long before they realized they needed to get out of that vehicle,” said Jolene DeVito, Carrollton Police Spokesperson, “unfortunately, it still ended in Arnold’s death.”

Carrollton Police are urging ride share customers to confirm the identities of drivers when using the services but, want to clarify that the driver called to the scene was not involved.

“This was not a LYFT driver, this was not an UBER driver,” said DeVito, “this was someone taking advantage of someone trying to do the right and using a ride service. The real LYFT driver came along shortly thereafter.”

Police say the couple was not robbed- but, the man asked for payment before arguing with Pinilla and fatally stabbing him. Pinilla later died in the street near Myers and Belt Line.

Surveillance cameras positioned nearby captured images of the white four door sedan. The car has a sunroof and tan interior. The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his mid-30s with a “skinny” build, standing between 5’3″-5″6″. He spoke Spanish; but, with what has been described as a “coastal accent”, perhaps suggesting that he’s a native of Puerto Rico or Cuba.

Meanwhile, the community is being warned.

“He’s willing to kill, so I’d say that he’s pretty dangerous,” said DeVito, “and I’d say we need to find him.”

“We don’t know if he’s done this before… we don’t know if he will do it again,” said Reyes. “If you see him call authorities, because he’s a threat: to all your sons and daughters.”

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/08/10/man-posing-as-lyft-driver-wanted-for-murder/

Woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Uber driver after night of partying

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

Posted: 7:42 PM, June 20, 2016

HOUSTON - “We were celebrating my 27th birthday … . I bought a brand-new dress … . we were ready to go out and celebrate all night.”

Those are the words of Paula, the victim whose real name is being concealed, a young wife and mother from Jersey Village who hoped to make this past Saturday night, an evening she would never forget.

 

She will never forget that night, but for all the wrong reasons.

Early Sunday morning, after bar-hopping all night, Paula called her husband saying she needed a ride home.

Her husband requested an Uber car pick her up.

But instead of getting a ride home, Paula said she fell asleep inside the Uber car right after getting inside, and when she woke up she alleges the driver was on top of her raping her with his hand.

“When I woke up, his hand was inside of my body and his mouth was on my neck kissing me. Like my neck was really wet all over and all around,” Paula said, with her hands trembling.

Immediately Paula said she jumped out of the vehicle and called 911.

The Uber driver stayed at the scene, and both he and Paula told their story to Houston police.

“I told them exactly what happened,” Paula said. "And I thought they would arrest this man."

But the Uber driver told a completely different story.

According to police, the driver told investigators that when he arrived to give Paula a ride, she was heavily intoxicated, upset and crying.

In order to help her, the driver told police he put her in the passenger seat next to him and proceeded to adjust her seat position and attach her seat belt for her.

He says when Paula woke up, he was leaning over her fastening the seat belt.

The Uber driver maintains he did nothing wrong.

As for Paula, she was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital to have a rape kit performed on her.

Paula says the driver is lying.

“I want him in jail. He shouldn’t be allowed to serve the public and drive people around,” Paula says.

Police say they are actively investigating the case.

At this point, the Uber driver has not been arrested or charged with anything.

Uber says the driver in question has been removed from the Uber platform and cannot drive for the company at this time.

Uber also says the driver did go through the Uber screening process, which does involve searching the national sex offender list.

Uber says this driver also passed the city of Houston’s background check which requires fingerprinting every driver.

Uber said: “We are deeply concerned by today’s report. We are in close contact with law enforcement and the driver in question has been removed from the Uber platform.”

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2

http://www.click2houston.com/news/woman-claims-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-uber-driver-after-night-of-partying

Woman says Uber driver Molested her

By RANDALL CARLISLE

Published 06/07 2016 03:53PM

NORTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 Utah) North Salt Lake Police are investigating a report of an attempted rape by an Uber driver. 

A 42 year old woman told ABC 4 she called for the Uber driver after visiting with friends in Salt Lake City. She doesn't want to be identified so we will call her Julia for this report.

She says the assault began right after she got in the front seat and the car took off. "He immediately started touching my leg with his hand, grabbed my hand, tried to hold my hand." Julia continues "he was saying things like oh your skin is so soft."

As he drove north on I-15 heading to her North Salt Lake home, he became more aggressive according to Julia. "He tried to slide his fingers up my shorts and then tried to rub me down over the top of my shorts."

She says the attempted rape occurred when he pulled up to her house. "He put it in park and immediately takes off his pants and he grabs on my shorts and tries to pull my shorts down."

She pulled away, said no, and started heading for her house. Julia quotes the driver then as saying "come on, you know you want to do this, you want this, you want this."

She ran in the house and called police. North Salt Lake Police tracked down the driver who denied her entire story. That leaves them with a "he said, she said" kind of situation because there's no physical evidence like semen or ripped clothes and there are no eyewitnesses. They say they are treating the report seriously and doing what they call due diligence. When that is complete they will turn their report over to the Davis County Attorney who will decide on possible charges.

Julia told ABC 4 that the driver was dumped by Uber but is still working for Lyft and she worries that he's doing this to other women who may be too embarrassed to come forward.

It's his attitude that make her think she is not his first victim. "It was so easy for him, so natural. He was just so confident and saying you know you want this. And when I got out of the car he was shocked. You know just sitting there with his pants on the ground."

Julia says the man told her he was from Iran. She guesses he's in his mid 30's. The police report identifies the driver as Alireza. If anyone else knows something about the case, call the North Salt Lake Police Department.

Julia warns other women not to sit in the front seat like she did and she thinks it would be much safer to travel in groups when taking transportation like this.

http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/woman-says-uber-driver-molested-her

Uber driver charged with attempted murder had an 'Extensive Criminal Record'

Yet he had no problem passing the background check

By Sage Lazzaro • 05/26/16 12:27pm

This isn’t looking good for Uber. (Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

It seems like an Uber driver is charged with a violent crime nearly every day. It’s not a stretch—just three days ago, we reported on a driver who was arrested for strangling a college student in a dorm parking lot. Now here we are again.

A 52-year-old Uber driver from Gaithersburg, Maryland has been charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder for trying to shoot police officers with a homemade gun. The driver, Jonathan Hemming, is also facing 17 additional assault, drug and weapons charges. According to WJLA, he has “an extensive criminal record” that includes weapons possession, arson, armed robbery, burglary, vehicle theft and more, yet Mr. Hemming had no problem passing the Uber background check.

The incident occurred last week when Montgomery County officers surrounded Mr. Hemming’s car to arrest him on a bench warrant for multiple drug charges. He allegedly resisted arrest and attempted, but failed, to fire at the heads of two detectives with one of the two weapons police say he had in the vehicle. After placing Mr. Hemming in handcuffs, officers also found a needle cap, a prescription vial, a syringe, rubber tie off straps, live shotgun shells, live handgun rounds, a pill bottle, a metal pill holder, a handcuff key, garden clippers and a pocket knife in his pants pockets. Although police say there were no Uber passengers in the car at the time, it was confirmed that was the vehicle he is assigned to drive for Uber.

When asked about Mr. Hemming at an unrelated Uber press conference, spokeswoman Meghan Joyce told ABC7, “I can say that we take this responsibility extraordinarily seriously.”

Again, this raises questions about the legitimacy of Uber’s background checks. Uber does not require its drivers to be fingerprinted, which officials say has led to the hiring of several people who have been convicted of violent crimes. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has said that a background check without fingerprints is “completely worthless.” And last month, Uber agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations by California prosecutors that it misled passengers about the quality of its driver background checks.

http://observer.com/2016/05/uber-driver-charged-with-attempted-murder-had-an-extensive-criminal-record/