#uberriderswakeup

Why everyone hates Uber

The Uber playbook

There's no denying the convenience of ride-hailing apps, but Uber has chosen to expand its reach in a singularly ruthless manner. Billions of dollars of venture capital financing give Uber the power to use unrealistic pricing to build dependence among customers and drivers. And that financing comes with demands - demands from investors that Uber grow globally at any cost. This has led the company to engage in behavior ranging from the questionable to the outrageous, and repeat its exploits in city after city and country after country.

As Uber has disrupted transportation economies around the world, the company's playbook has become clear. By studying its pattern of behavior, we've been able to identify each step in Uber's method for entering, dominating, and exploiting new markets around the globe.

  1. Market entry

    Far too often, Uber will start to operate in a location without seeking permission from regulators, or complying with local taxi laws. They will insist that their model is not catered to in pre-existing regulations, which therefore cannot be held to apply to them.
  2. Driver recruitment

    Uber needs a critical mass of drivers on the street in order to provide a usable service to riders. To achieve this, at the outset it offers an attractive deal to drivers, tempting them away from taxi cab firms. Uber uses its size and funding to push fares below the cost of providing a ride, something local tax-paying firms cannot afford to do.
  3. Use riders as a political base

    By establishing itself before the authorities have time to react, Uber establishes a political support base amongst city-dwellers who value its convenience and relative affordability. PR stunts – such as free rides, presents for riders, or the delivery of everything from ice cream to puppies – cements the company’s appealing image.
  4. Gain political influence the way giant corporations always do

    Meanwhile, Uber will recruit an army of well-connected and expensive lobbyists to press its case in the local context.
  5. Ignore or fight regulations when possible, settle high risk lawsuits

    Uber will often fight or ignore regulations until an official crackdown becomes impossible to ignore. The company will pay the fines and costs of drivers arrested for working without a license. In these instances Uber seems happier to pay the occasional fine rather than change its behavior. In some cases, such as paying for drivers’ insurance, or even a small tax on fares, it can stand to take a hit.
  6. Brush off protests from competition

    Local taxi firms are often hit hard by Uber, often seeing a decline in their income of up to or around 50%. Some chose to protest Uber’s behavior and the fact it plays by its own rulebook. Uber sometimes responds to these protests by hiring a private security force.
  7. Reduce fares, increase commission, increase driver numbers

    Once Uber has established local market dominance, it’s time to turn a profit, and that means cutting fares and increasing its commission. It argues that lower fares, which make rides more frequent, can actually increase drivers’ income by reducing downtime, a phenomenon known as ‘Uber math’. But drivers often report that their earnings have been slashed without consultation, or even warning. The company also recruits more and more drivers – a process which adds to waiting times for drivers, but reduces them for riders, and hence drives down income.

And from there, it’s rinse and repeat. Uber is always expanding, and before this process is complete in one location, it’s on to the next.

https://www.whyeveryonehatesuber.com/#playbook

Operator of self-driving Uber vehicle that killed pedestrian was felon

Bree Burkitt and Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 9:02 p.m. MT March 19, 2018 | Updated 11:14 p.m. MT March 19, 2018

The operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction.

A representative for Uber declined to comment on the conviction and the company's hiring policies, citing an active investigation.

Elaine Herzberg  was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.

Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator, who has been identified as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, behind the wheel at the time of the crash. 

Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Elcock said impairment did not initially appear to be a factor for either Vasquez or Herzberg. He added it was not apparent that the vehicle attempted to slow down while it approached Herzberg.

Court records show Vasquez has a criminal record in Arizona under a different legal name. 

Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show Vasquez served three years and 10 months in a state prison for convictions on attempted armed robbery and unsworn falsification. She was released from prison in 2005. 

The autonomous vehicles have been used to shuttle Uber passengers in parts of Tempe and Scottsdale. Riders who are picked up by a self-driving cars would likely recognize them from the presence of the exterior sensors. 

The San Francisco-based company recently came under fire for hiring felons. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission company fined Uber's parent company $8.9 million in November 2017 after an investigation determined the ride-hailing service had hired nearly 60 drivers with previous felony convictions.

Colorado state law prevents individuals with felony convictions, alcohol or drug-related driving offenses, unlawful sexual offenses and major traffic violations from working for rideshare companies.

Uber attributed the unlawful hirings to a "process area" inconsistent with Colorado's ridesharing regulations. The company said all drivers must undergo a third-party background screening "per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations."

Uber has more than 18,000 contract drivers and 1,000 employees in Arizona, with most staffers at the downtown Phoenix operations center.

Close to 300 people worked in the self-driving operations in Tempe as of November 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2018/03/19/operator-self-driving-uber-vehicle-killed-pedestrian-felon/440501002/

Uber facing lawsuit over crash involving wrong driver

Updated: 1:00 PM EDT Mar 15, 2018

Paul Van Osdol   

PITTSBURGH —

A Western Pennsylvania man is suing Uber after he says one of its drivers turned over the car to her roommate – who then crashed it.

Austin Lee, of East McKeesport, took an Uber to meet his parents in Shadyside.

But he said the driver who picked him up is not the same person who responded to him on Uber's app.

According to court records, when Lee requested an Uber, his app said the driver's name was Tina and that she drove a Chrysler Sebring.

When the car arrived, Lee said, it was a Sebring and the driver was a woman.

“I did see an Uber sign, an Uber sticker on the car as Uber cars have. I went in and sat in the car and thought I was safe,” Lee said.

Minutes later, the car was on Bigelow Boulevard in Pittsburgh when it crashed into a tree. Lee said all he remembers is “seeing actual blood gushing from my head onto my pants and not knowing what happened, and afterward not being able to turn my neck.”

Lee ended up in the hospital with extensive injuries, according to court records.

A police report said the driver was not named Tina, but in fact was Linda Bruce. The report said Tina King is the car owner and also Bruce's roommate.

King was supposed to be the Uber driver, according to Lee's lawsuit.

“I was just shocked that that can even happen with such a big company, a world-renowned company,” Lee said.

“Then to put salt in the wound they charged him $16.81 for a ride that was never completed,” said Jack Goodrich, Lee’s attorney.

He said Uber refused to cover the accident under its insurance because the wrong person was driving.

“I mean that just makes no common sense -- charge me for the ride but then deny responsibility and liability,” Goodrich said.

In court filings, Uber, King and Bruce have denied the lawsuit's allegations. All of them refused to comment.

In a statement, Uber said when it gets a complaint that a driver did not match his or her profile, it takes appropriate action, which could include removing the driver from the Uber app.

No charges were filed against Bruce resulting from the accident.

Lee said Uber needs to do a better job making sure the right driver is behind the wheel.

“They should be doing a lot more especially with the technology available today to check on their drivers before they even start the car,” he said.

In a statement, Uber said it does check drivers by periodically asking them to take selfies and then matching that image with an existing photo of the driver.

http://www.wtae.com/article/uber-facing-lawsuit-over-crash-involving-wrong-driver/19445200

POLICE: UBEREATS DRIVER SHOOTS, KILLS CUSTOMER IN BUCKHEAD

Police have not arrested the driver.

Author:Kristen Reed

Published:1:36 AM EST February 19, 2018

A person is dead and an UberEATS driver is on the run after a late-night shooting on Pharr Court South at The Concorde Condominiums in Buckhead.

According to police, 30-year-old Ryan Thornton of Atlanta, identified by the medical examiner, ordered food Saturday, Feb. 17 using the UberEATS app. As he was walking away from the driver around 11:30 p.m., words were exchanged between the two.

That's when police say the driver fired several shots, striking Thornton several times. The driver fled the scene in a white Volkswagen. At the time, police have not made any arrests.

Thornton was taken to Grady Hospital in critical condition and later died.

UberEATS is a smartphone app used to order takeout food from restaurants. Drivers for the company pick up the food and deliver it to the customer.

“We are shocked and saddened by this news," said an Uber spokesperson. "We are working with Atlanta Police, and our hearts go out to the families of those involved.”

11Alive reached out to family, who did not wish to speak publicly just yet. However, Thornton's uncle told 11Alive "Ryan was a good boy." The 30-year-old had just graduated from Morehouse College in May with a degree in political science and recently got a new job. Family said Thornton was the only child to his mother, who also lost her husband unexpectedly three years ago.

 

http://www.11alive.com/mobile/article/news/local/buckhead/police-ubereats-driver-shoots-kills-customer-in-buckhead/85-520204066

Suspect in Colts' Edwin Jackson, Uber driver deaths previously convicted for drunk driving in California

Justin L. Mack,Vic Ryckaert,Fatima Hussein and Holly V. Hays, IndyStarPublished 10:31 a.m. ET Feb. 5, 2018 | Updated 11:03 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018

The 26-year-old linebacker was one of the two people killed when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver on I-70 early Sunday morning.

The man suspected of driving drunk and fatally striking an Indianapolis Colts player and his Uber driver early Sunday had twice been deported and was in the country illegally, police confirmed Monday.  

Police say Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he hit and killed Edwin Jackson, a 26-year-old Colts linebacker, and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, Jackson's Uber driver, around 4 a.m. Sunday.   

Orrego-Savala is from Guatemala, according to Indiana State Police. He was first deported in 2007 and again in 2009 following arrests in San Francisco, according to a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials say Orrego-Savala has a prior conviction in California for driving under the influence.  

The circumstances of his Sunday arrest emerged as the latest case to draw in politicians and activists, particularly as President Donald Trump and Congress debate immigration changes as another budget deadline looms this week.  

Trump reaction: Trump tweets about Jackson’s death, suspect being in U.S. illegally

Activists comment: Immigration activists respond to Jackson's, Uber driver's death

About the crash: What happened to Edwin Jackson: Everything you need to know

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his condolences to Jackson's family Monday evening. 

"This was a senseless & avoidable tragedy," Pence tweeted." This is a great loss for the entire Indiana community. My prayers are with his family in their time of grief."

On my way to Alaska. I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Indianapolis @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This was a senseless & avoidable tragedy. This is a great loss for the entire Indiana community. My prayers are with his family in their time of grief. https://t.co/JKkzxakfmE

— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 6, 2018

Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted a condemnation of Orrego-Savala, followed by condolences to Jackson's family.

So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018

My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018

 

Supporters of reforms that would allow undocumented immigrants — and especially children — a path toward citizenship cautioned lawmakers not to conflate criminals with law-abiding children. 

"I agree with current law that punishes people who do not follow the law," said Ana Kotchkoski, president of the Venezuelan Association of Indiana, which regularly lobbies on behalf of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. "This goes against everything were trying to fight for and pursue for DACA." 

In 2012, President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order. The program allowed certain people who came to the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from immediate deportation. The program has become a bargaining chip for Democrats, as President Trump and Congressional Republicans seek a budget deal to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border.  

Meanwhile, supporters of the wall — and, more broadly, tougher immigration laws — pointed to the deaths of Jackson and Monroe as a reason for stricter border security.  

“Their lives were taken by a twice-deported illegal immigrant who was not only two times the legal limit to drive, but attempted to flee the scene of the crime in a cowardly fashion," said Michael Joyce, Indiana communications director for the Republican National Committee, in a statement. "These horrific events only further underscore the need for immigration reform and stronger border security measures that can further prevent these tragedies from happening in the future.” 

This is the truck Manuel Orrego-Savala was driving during the crash that killed Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe (Photo: Indiana State Police)

Orrego-Savala’s history in the U.S. dates back more than a decade. ICE spokesperson Nicole Alberico said in an email that Orrego-Savala is believed to have entered the country on or around July 1, 2004.

He was convicted of driving under the influence in Redwood City, Calif., in 2005, Alberico said. It was unclear what happened immediately following his conviction.

He was once again arrested by ICE in San Francisco in October 2006 for being in the country illegally. He was removed to Guatemala for the first time on Jan. 17, 2007.

He was again arrested by deportation officers in San Francisco on March 26, 2009, and was removed to Guatemala for the second time on May 12, 2009.

It is unknown when he returned to the U.S. and at what point he arrived in Indiana.

According to the state police, the crash happened shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday along the westbound lanes of I-70, just west of Holt Road. 

Jackson and Monroe, of Avon, were standing near Monroe's stopped vehicle when Orrego-Savala's Ford F-150 pick-up truck drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck them both. 

Investigators believe Monroe pulled to the side of the road when Jackson became ill, and that Monroe got out of his car to assist Jackson. 

Orrego-Savala tried to run away but was arrested soon after on the ramp to Holt Road, police said. He used the fake name of Alex Cabrera-Gonsales, police said.  

One of the two victims was thrown into the center lane of I-70 during the crash, ISP Sgt. John Perrine said in a statement. A state trooper, who spotted the crash along the right side of the road, struck the body of a victim in the center lane, Perrine said. Police did not say which victim was struck.  

Manuel Orrego-Savala's blood-alcohol level was .239 percent, according to a preliminary probable cause affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court. In Indiana, a driver is presumed intoxicated at 0.08 percent. 

Indiana advocates for the rights of the undocumented sought to separate the issue of drunken driving from illegal immigration.   

"The tragedy here is that this young man lost his life due to the negligence of someone who decided to drive under the influence," said Francine Dash, a spokeswoman for Faith in Indiana. "Legal status is not the culprit here; drunk driving is." 

“There are no excuses to drink and drive," said Marlene Dotson, president and CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute. "It impacts the entire community."  

More than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represented one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not return calls by IndyStar. Much of Orrego-Savala's background, including how much time he spent in Guatemala, is unknown at this point.  

Immigration to the U.S. from the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — grew by 25 percent over the eight-year period from 2005 to 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.  

Although violence tends to be the oft-cited cause for immigration from these three countries, Guatemala saw a slight decrease in violence in 2017, according to InSight Crime, a foundation studying organized crime in Central America.  

However, poverty runs rampant in Guatemala. In 2014, the year for which data is most recently available, more than a quarter of the country’s population lives on roughly $3 a day, according to the World Bank. Only the top 10 percent of the country’s population is considered middle class or wealthy.

Orrego-Savala has not been formally charged by the Marion County prosecutor's office. Prosecutors were granted a continuance, moving his initial hearing to Wednesday morning, according to the office.

He's being held in Marion County Jail. State police are working with federal immigration officials, Perrine said.

IndyStar reporter Ryan Martin contributed to this story.

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/05/driver-accused-killing-colts-player-edwin-jackson-undocumented-immigrant-has-been-deported-twice/306779002/

UBER DRIVER GAVE INTOXICATED WOMEN A RIDE HOME AND THEN RAPED THEM, SLO POLICE SAY

BY GABBY FERREIRA

January 18, 2018 02:38 PM

San Luis Obispo police have arrested an Uber driver from Santa Maria who they say escorted intoxicated women into their homes and then raped them.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo police served a search warrant at the home of 39-year-old Alfonso Alarconnunez in the 2300 block of Cesar Chavez Drive in Santa Maria, officials said. Alarconnunez was identified as a suspect in two separate sexual assault cases with multiple victims in SLO: one in the early morning of Dec. 18 and the other on Jan. 14, police said in a news release on Thursday.

Police say Alarconnunez, an Uber driver, targeted intoxicated women, gave them rides home and escorted them inside, where he then sexually assaulted them. Police said they believe Alarconnunez also stole property from the victims, including jewelry, cellphones and computers.

Police detectives believe Alarconnunez searched for parties in San Luis Obispo and solicited rides as an Uber driver. He would then collect payment through Venmo, a pay service app, to disguise his identity and his Uber records, police said.

Capt. Chris Staley said police have identified two victims in the December case and one in the January case. Staley said police first connected Alarconnunez to the Jan. 14 assault, and further investigation revealed he was connected to the Dec. 18 incident as well.

When police searched Alarconnunez’s home, police found several items of property belonging to the victims.

Alarconnunez was arrested on suspicion of eight charges, including two counts of rape of an unconscious victim and one count of rape of a drugged victim, as well as additional charges of grand theft, burglary and oral copulation with an unconscious victim.

He was taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to jail records.

“There’s a lot of things outstanding that we’re still trying to piece together,” Staley said. “There may be additional charges we’re trying to request through the District Attorney’s Office.”

Since the arrest was made public at about 2 p.m. Thursday, Staley said the department has been contacted by a few people who’ve interacted with Alarconnunez, though he could not say whether those interactions took place around the same time as the assaults or at another time.

Police ask everyone with information regarding Alarconnunez, or anyone who believes they were a victim of assault or theft, to notify their local law enforcement agency.

Police urge everyone to confirm the identity of the driver and vehicle they request through the Uber or Lyft apps before getting into a vehicle. Payment should also be made through Uber or Lyft and not another payment service.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article195437314.html

Uber driver sexually assaulted 3 students from Cal Poly, 1 from Cuesta, DA says

 

 

 

 

Uber driver with criminal past arrested after British woman diplomat, 30, murdered, left by side of road

 

December 18th, 2017

A Lebanese Uber driver with “previous criminal violations” was arrested Monday in connection with the murder of a British diplomat, whose body was found on the side of a highway near Beirut over the weekend, according to officials.

Rebecca Dykes, who worked at the British embassy in Lebanon, was found strangled on Saturday after a night out with colleagues. A man was arrested at his apartment after authorities traced his car through security cameras that showed the vehicle traveling from Beirut to the area where Dykes’ body was found, officials said Monday.

The driver, whose name has not been released, confessed to killing the 30-year-old woman. Officials called the murder a “criminal act” that was not politically motivated.

Little information was released about the suspect, but a senior Lebanese security source told Sky News the man was an Uber driver. The ride-sharing company said in a statement Fox News that it is working with authorities in the investigation.

"We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victim and her family. We are working with authorities to assist their investigation in any way they can,” an Uber spokesperson told Fox News.

Police are still investigating the cause of death and whether she was sexually assaulted.  

Dykes met friends and colleagues Friday night at a bar in Beirut’s Gemayze neighborhood, known for its restaurants and pubs where diplomats and journalists are often seen, Sky News reported. She left the bar around midnight, where the driver picked her up and drove her to a nearby neighborhood where she lived — but didn’t drop her off, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said.

The man then tried to sexually assault her and strangled her with a rope before dumping her body on the side of the highway, NNA reported. Lebanese media added that marks were found on her neck.

When Dykes’ body was found, there were no items pointing to her identity and she had no money or a cellular telephone. Authorities released a drawing of her in order for people who know her to come forward and identify her.

Dykes, who was expected to flying home for Christmas on Saturday, had been working as a program and policy manager at the Department of International Development since January. Her social media page said she was from London, previously attended the University of Manchester and University of London.

Friends told Sky News Dykes was “a very cautious, astute and highly intelligent woman.”

“She had the highest level of security training,” the unidentified friend said. "I know she followed procedures, especially in the job she did. She was very charming, sociable and dedicated to her work.”

The friend added, “She wasn't the kind of girl to be walking around on her own. She was always in control.”

Her family released a statement saying they were “devastated” by the death and requested the media respect their privacy “at this very difficult time.”

"The whole embassy is deeply shocked and saddened by this news," said British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter in a statement, "Our thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss."

The murder has shaken Lebanon, where such crimes, particularly against foreigners, are relatively uncommon. Beirut has been considered relatively safe despite recent chaos in the Middle East.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/18/uber-driver-with-criminal-past-arrested-after-british-woman-diplomat-30-murdered-left-by-side-road.html

Uber driver charged with raping 16-year-old passenger

By Avi Selk December 15, 2017 

Police were called to an apartment complex outside Atlanta in the dark hours of Monday morning to find an extremely intoxicated 16-year-old girl with her pants around her ankles, they said.

She told Gwinnett County police officers that her Uber driver had just raped her. Now that driver is in jail, and police say the girl may not have been his only victim.

The teen had been out drinking at a bar, police said in a statement, and a friend ordered her an Uber to get home.

Abdoulie Jagne — a 58-year-old who had been driving for the service for two months and had no prior complaints, according to the company — pulled up to the bar.

According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Uber later provided information to police suggesting the ride took longer than it should have. Detectives now suspect that Jagne raped the girl on a street lined with houses and strip malls in an unincorporated section of the suburbs, a few miles northwest of Atlanta.

[An eavesdropping Uber driver saved his 16-year-old passenger from her pimps, police say]

He then dropped her off at a complex along the same road, where she started banging on doors and saying her driver had assaulted her.

Officers called to the complex took the girl to a hospital and got in touch with Uber. On Thursday, they arrested Jagne on a charge of rape.

The driver was calm at the point of handcuffs, sheriff’s deputies told the Fox affiliate. He remained in jail Friday, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Police have not provided any more details about the case but suspect Jagne may have assaulted others, and they have asked anyone who may have been a victim to contact them.

An Uber spokeswoman told The Washington Post that the driver has been permanently banned and that the company is cooperating with police.

“What’s reported here is horrifying beyond words,” Uber said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the rider and her family during this time.”

The arrest is the latest in a string of violent incidents allegedly involving Uber drivers, including a 2014 rape case that got the service banned from New Delhi, a fatal accident involving a 6-year-old in San Francisco and a mass shooting last year in Kalamazoo, Mich.

As The Post has reported, Uber is facing a class-action lawsuit that claims flaws in its screening process have endangered thousands of people.

Drivers are required to clear a criminal background screening, but Uber has strongly resisted calls to strengthen that system with fingerprint checks — going as far as to shut down its operations in areas that demand it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/12/15/uber-driver-charged-with-raping-16-year-old-passenger/?utm_term=.b9a30adc9130

Uber hit with $8.9 million fine in Colorado for letting unqualified drivers on its platform

One driver was an escaped convict

by Andrew J. Hawkins Nov 21, 2017, 1:16pm EST

Colorado has ordered Uber to pay a fine of $8.9 million for allowing individuals with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses, or without valid licenses, to drive for the company, Reuters reports. The company blamed an “error” in its background check process for the bad drivers.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said its probe found violations that included 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 drivers with major moving-vehicle violations, and three drivers with a type of driver’s license required only after recent drunk-driving convictions. The commission said that Uber’s background checks also failed to identify a number of aliases used by their drivers, including one driver who was “a convicted felon, habitual offender, and at one point in his past had escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections.” Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber. The company was cited $2,500 a day for each day a disqualified driver was found to have worked.

“THE COMPANY’S BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE INADEQUATE”

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” Doug Dean, the commission’s director, said in a statement. “PUC staff was able to find felony convictions that the company’s background checks failed to find, demonstrating that the company’s background checks are inadequate. In other cases, we could not confirm criminal background checks were even conducted by Uber.”

In a statement, Uber says it recently discovered a “process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ride-sharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action. Per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations, drivers with access to the Uber app must undergo a nationally accredited third-party background screening. We will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.” Asked if the company planned on paying the fine, a spokesperson said they were “evaluating our options.”

This isn’t the first time Uber has been reprimanded for its security policies. In 2014, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco sued the ride-hailing company for claiming its background checks were the most thorough in the industry, despite the fact that Uber does not take drivers' fingerprints like many taxi companies do. Uber paid $10 million to settle the suit. A new lawsuit seeking class action status was filed recently by two anonymous women who claim to have been raped or assaulted by Uber drivers. Their lawsuit is seeking to force Uber to implement stricter background check policies.

Fingerprinting drivers is a common point of contention between Uber and local governments. The company left out of Austin, Texas, after city officials there passed a law requiring finger printing for drivers. (Uber has since returned after a state law was passed voiding the requirement.)

In response to the Colorado decision, Uber notes that the state’s laws governing app-based ride-hailing services are uniquely strict. According to current Colorado law, a driver convicted of a felony for nonviolent crimes, such as trespassing or forgery, in their lifetime would not be eligible to drive for Uber in Colorado.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/21/16685908/uber-colorado-fine-unqualified-drivers-convict

Uber Driver Charged With Assaulting Middletown Woman

The driver started kissing the 23-year-old woman and asked her to stay in the car, police say. She was able to escape and call for help.

By Margo Sullivan (Patch Staff) - Updated September 25, 2017 9:22 pm ET

MIDDLETOWN, RI—A Providence man was charged with Simple Assault or Battery on Sunday at 2:05 a.m. after he allegedly grabbed a woman in his car and started kissing her. The woman told police she had called Uber and arranged to be picked up at 41 North restaurant in Newport. She got into the front passenger seat, and the driver, Richard Jimenez, "began to hit on her," she told police. He allegedly told her she was pretty and asked for her telephone number. When they arrived at her street, she asked him to pull over so she could leave. He pulled her head toward him and started kissing her, she said. She protested and managed to get away. Fearful he would see where she lived, she walked into an apartment building a couple of doors away from her home and called her boyfriend. He called police.

Middletown police investigated and then stopped Jimenez, 32, on Lawrence Street. He denied dropping off anyone there and said he was just driving around. Later, he said he had dropped off a passenger. Police asked the woman to identify the suspect, and she confirmed he was the driver.

https://patch.com/rhode-island/middletown/uber-driver-charged-assaulting-middletown-woman

Uber to lose its license to operate in London

CHICAGO NEWS 09/22/2017, 08:20am

LONDON — Uber’s license to operate in London won’t be renewed because its practices endanger public safety and security, the local regulator said Friday, in a blow to a company already facing big questions over its corporate culture.

Transport for London says the company, whose app is used by 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London, isn’t “fit and proper” to hold a license to operate a private-hire vehicle service.

“TfL considers that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” the regulator said in a statement.

Uber was first licensed to operate in the city in 2012 and will see its current license expire on Sept. 30. The company said it plans to appeal the regulator’s decision, and can continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted.

For its part, Uber accused the city of caving in to special interests “who want to restrict consumer choice.”

“Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the U.K.,” the company said. “This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”

Uber, founded in 2010 in San Francisco, has often faced opposition as it expanded. Taxi drivers complain that Uber drivers don’t have to comply with the same licensing standards, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage and placing the public at risk.

The company, which provides a smartphone application that connects passengers with drivers who work as independent contractors, argues it isn’t a traditional transportation company.

In its decision, Transport for London singled out Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and how it conducts background checks on drivers. TfL also took issue with Uber’s explanation of software that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app and “prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he supported the decision, saying any operator of taxi services in the city “needs to play by the rules.”

“Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security,” he said. “I fully support TfL’s decision — it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”

Police in London accused Uber last month of not reporting a sexual assault by a driver on a passenger, allowing the driver to strike again. Metropolitan Police Inspector Neil Billany suggested in a letter that the company was putting concerns for its reputation over public safety.

At the time, Uber said it was surprised by the letter and that it had a good working relationship with the police.

But the company has been dogged by questions on its workplace culture. In July, former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned following criticism of his management style. Some 20 people, including some managers, were fired in June amid allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

Its aggressive corporate culture has resulted in litigation around the world. John Colley, a strategy professor at Warwick Business School, said poor values ultimately bring companies down. Uber is now effectively banned from France, Spain and Belgium, and it is facing litigation and investigations around the world, he said.

“There is a very long list of businesses who have suffered for failing to uphold the level of values necessary,” Colley said. “Until Uber gets this message then it will suffer lost trade as a result of its deteriorating reputation.”

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/uber-to-lose-its-license-to-operate-in-london/

Woman Says Uber Driver Pushed Her From Speeding Car

 

ROBERT KAHN   August 22, 2017

VENTURA, Calif. (CN) — A Southern California woman claims in courtthat an Uber driver pushed her from a speeding car when, alarmed by his erratic behavior, she asked him to let her out.

Katherine Conner sued Uber Technologies and Rasier on Monday in Ventura County Superior Court. She seeks punitive damages on nine counts, including assault, battery, false imprisonment, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Uber, whose corporate culture has come under intense public and legal scrutiny this year, could not be reached for comment after business hours Monday.

Conner’s 13-page lawsuit is short on specifics, aside from the frightening ride she says happened “(w)ithin the year last past,” with an Uber “driver defendant” in the city of Ventura.

She says when the Uber driver picked her up he headed in the wrong direction. When she complained he told her “in essence, that he was taking a shortcut, according to the complaint. When it became clear he was not taking her where she wanted to go, Conner says, she told him she wanted to get out of the car.

“At that point, the driver defendant became agitated and started driving fast,” making her “fear that the driver defendant intended to take her somewhere other than the destination and do her harm.”

She screamed at him, insisting that he let her out, Conner says, but he ignored her pleas to let her out of the car, “and, in fact, increased its speed in response and began shoving, pushing and assaulting and battering (her).”

The assault culminated, she says, “as the driver defendant was making a turn, and while the vehicle was still moving, the driver defendant reached over, opened the passenger-side door, forcibly pushed plaintiff Conner out of the subject vehicle and drove away.”

She had to go to a hospital emergency room and get continuing treatment for physical and psychological trauma, Conner says.

She is represented by Lewis Adelson with Costell & Cornelius, of Santa Monica.

Uber has been sued at least 433 times this year, according to the Courthouse News database, on claims of negligence, failure to train, exaggerating the background checks it claims to do on its drivers, many injury accidents, including an alleged death caused by an Uber driver using his mobile phone while driving, and class actions about its treatment of drivers, including failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance for them, and failing to serve disabled passengers. Its CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down after repeated complaints about an abusive workplace and a major shareholder recently sued the company to get Kalanick booted from the board.

https://www.courthousenews.com/woman-says-uber-driver-pushed-speeding-car/

Uber driver allegedly rapes unconscious Manhattan woman in his home after she falls asleep in his car

 

BYGRAHAM RAYMAN

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, August 18, 2017, 4:00 PM

An East Village woman suffered a terrifying ordeal Thursday when she passed out in an Uber car and the driver took her to his apartment and raped her, police sources said.

The 31-year-old victim called for an Uber at E. 52nd St. and 2nd Ave. about 2 a.m. She told the 47-year-old driver to take her home and then fell asleep in the car, sources said.

The twisted cabbie took her to his Flushing apartment and raped her while she was still unconscious, sources said. She woke up, realized with shock that she wasn’t home and confronted the driver.

“I used protection — please don't call police,” he said according to police sources.

She fled his home and reported what happened to police she found nearby on 41st Road and College Point Blvd.

She told police she had a few drinks before hailing the ride and gave no consent for sex, sources said. Medics took her to Bellevue Hospital for examination.

Cops have identified the driver and are trying to locate him, sources said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/uber-driver-rapes-manhattan-woman-falls-asleep-car-article-1.3423665

Couple Sues Uber, Claims Driver Tried to Mow Them Down

The driver also allegedly threatened to kill the pair

By City News Service

A couple who allege an Uber driver tried four times to run them down in April while threatening to kill them sued the company and the driver Monday.

John Christopher Burget and fiancee Kristin Currey brought the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Uber Technologies Inc. and driver Destiny Riddle. The suit alleges negligence, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. Burget is seeking $4.95 million in damages and Currey is asking for $750,000.

Uber hired and retained Riddle despite her "record of violent and confrontational behavior," the suit states.

Neither the plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Mazda, nor an Uber representative could be immediately reached.

The suit does not state where Riddle picked up the pair on April 22. During the ride, Currey complained to Riddle about the loud volume of the music she was playing and the offensive lyrics, but the request only caused her to become "extremely confrontational and violent," the suit states.

"Riddle refused to turn the music down or off," the suit states. "So, Burget and Currey asked Riddle to let them out of the car. Riddle refused." Riddle only permitted the plaintiffs to leave the car after they called 911, the suit states.

"However, after they were out of the car, Riddle attempted to run them over four times," the suit states. "Riddle expressly stated to plaintiffs while she was doing this that she was going to kill them."

Riddle tried three times to run the two over while driving in reverse at high speed, then turned around and aimed at them again, the suit alleges.

"The only reason Riddle stopped attempting to run them over was because the police were arriving at the scene," the suit states. "Riddle fled the scene in her Uber car and was eventually arrested by police."

Burget, who previously had knee implant surgery in one leg and a hamstring injury in the other leg, hurt himself while jumping out of the way of Riddle's car, the suit states.

Burget has had further surgery on the leg with the implant and he may lose that limb from the knee down, the suit states. He tore his hamstring in the other leg and has had flashbacks about the confrontation with Riddle, the suit states.

Currey also was injured while leaping out of the way of Riddle's car and both she and Burget suffered emotional distress, according to the complaint.

"Currey feared and still fears that Riddle would or will show up at her house and harm her, Burget, and/or Currey's children," the suit states.

The suit further states that Riddle swung an aluminum softball bat and chased for two miles in her car a process server who tried to serve her with papers the plaintiffs filed in support of their successful bid for a temporary restraining order against the Uber driver.

"That process server fled for his life," the suit states.



Source: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Couple-Sues-Uber-Claims-Driver-Tried-to-Mow-Them-Down-440384263.html#ixzz4pqbefuoJ 
Follow us: @NBCLA on Twitter | NBCLA on Facebook



 

Uber driver used app to find customer's home and beat him, lawsuit says

POSTED: AUG 12 2017 09:24AM CDT

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court accuses an Uber driver of using the company’s app to find a passenger’s home address so that he could wait for him to get home and attack him.

The suit was filed by David Riordan, who said he requested an Uber to take him home about 2 a.m. Dec. 18, 2016 after leaving a party, according to court documents.

When Uber driver Muntsr Abuseini arrived at the intersection of Damen and Division in the Wicker Park neighborhood to pick him up, Riordan said Abuseini became aggressive toward him and kicked him out of the car, according to the suit. Abuseini then got out of the car and punched Riordan in the face and tackled him.

Riordan went to a friend’s home afterwards and reported the incident to Uber about 2:30 a.m. He then called another Uber to take him home, according to the suit. When he got to his home in Logan Square, Abuseini attacked him from behind and hit him in the head with a metal baton.

According to the suit, Abuseini told Riordan “Don’t f— with Uber drivers,” during the attack.

Abuseini was arrested Jan. 23 in Lake View and subsequently charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to Chicago Police.

His bail was was set at $75,000 and he was released from Cook County Jail after posting bond, according to court records. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The suit accuses Abuseini of battery, assault and causing Riordan emotional distress during the attack. It also accuses Uber of negligently hiring and supervising Abuseini.

Uber declined to comment on the suit, but a spokeswoman said Abuseini’s “access to the driver app was removed after this incident.”

Riordan seeks unspecified damages through the suit.

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/273455962-story

Uber driver accused of raping a schoolgirl, 16, while telling her 'it's alright baby girl' granted bail

 

  • Uber driver was charged this month with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl
  • Girl was returning to a friend's home when she was allegedly picked up
  • Man allegedly took her to a dark allotment to rape and sexually assault her
  • Seminal fluid was detected on the victim's underwear, the court heard

By Australian Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 07:56 EDT, 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:01 EDT, 25 July 2017

An Uber driver accused of raping a Queensland high school student has been granted bail despite evidence placing him at the scene of the crime.
The 37-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been in custody since he was charged earlier this month with raping a 16-year-old passenger.
The girl was returning to a friend's home after buying a tub of ice cream when she was allegedly picked up by the man about 9pm on July 7.

Two friends had offered to go with the girl on the return trip to the supermarket but she told them: 'It's alright, I'll be 10 minutes max'.

Police allege the man drove in the direction of the girl's destination before terminating the trip and taking her to a 'dark, spare allotment'.

'I have just broken up with my girlfriend today and I am feeling horny,' he allegedly said.

'But I think you can fix my problem'.

The man then allegedly indecently touched, raped and sexually assaulted the girl as she cried and repeatedly told him no.

'It's alright baby girl. Spread your legs,' he allegedly said.

The girl, who was returned to her friend's home, later revealed to a friend and her mother that she had been raped.

The driver 'strongly denies' the allegations against him and has been described by character references as a kind-hearted family man who respects women.

Court documents filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court show data taken from his phone place him on the exact route the victim alleged the assault occurred.

Seminal fluid has also been detected on the victim's underwear but not in the man's vehicle, which police noted had been 'recently cleaned'.

The man, who had been working up to five days a week as an Uber driver since January, is not allowed to work for the company or as a taxi driver as part of his bail conditions.

He has also been placed on a curfew, surrendered his passport and must report to police three times a week.

The case will return to the Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 7.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4728362/Uber-driver-accused-raping-schoolgirl-16-gets-bail.html#ixzz4p64p9haW 
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Second Brisbane Uber driver charged with rape

JULY 14, 2017 10:02AM

QUEENSLAND police are urging women who have been sexually assaulted while using ride-sharing app Uber after a second Brisbane driver was charged with rape.

A 37-year-old man will face Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on Friday charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl in the city’s south on July 8.

The teenager reported the incident to police the following morning, saying the driver raped her in his car.

It comes only days after a 47-year-old driver was charged with raping a young passenger three times.

Police have said the two matters are unrelated, but they do believe more incidents have occurred.

After the first incident, detectives warned they had suspicions the driver could be a serial rapist.

“Some of the information we’ve obtained during the investigation seems to lend itself in the police’s view ... that perhaps there may have been other incidents,” Acting Detective Superintendent Mick O’Dowd told reporters.

“We don’t have exact details of those incidents, which is why we’re asking our public appeal again for people to come forward if they’ve been in a situation that’s similar.”

Det Supt O’Dowd said Uber had been fully co-operative with police and dismissed any suggestion drivers had been forging identity details to successfully register as a driver with the service.

Detectives have previously said they believe that a man may have abused other women collected late at night from central Brisbane in the last two years.

Police today have made a separate appeal for victims who have been in similar situations to report the incident.

Uber has previously said its drivers undergo a criminal history check before being cleared to work for the company. Police have said Uber has been cooperative in their investigations.

Despite the incidents and belief more passengers have been assaulted, Det Supt O’Dowd said police have no concerns about the safety of Uber or other ride-sharing services.

“I don’t think from the actions of two persons you could draw a conclusion it makes Uber any less safe,” he said.

“There’s thousands of transports every day where people are collected and dropped at their destination without any problem at all.”

Mr O’Dowd said improving safety measures of forcing all Uber vehicles to have cameras installed was a matter for the company and not police.

http://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/crime/second-brisbane-uber-driver-charged-with-rape/news-story/b48b5b553204d555bf83b90e6d0981e8

Uber driver allegedly threatened fare who shot-down his pitch for a date

 

By Jenna Jaynes | 

Posted: Mon 12:22 PM, Jul 03, 2017  | 

Updated: Mon 12:23 PM, Jul 03, 2017

     

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- An Uber driver has been jailed for allegedly threatening to slit the throat of a passenger who refused his overture for a date.

Richard Moreno, 30, is facing a Terroristic Threats charge. Bond has been set at $25,000.

Prosecutors say Moreno asked the victim for a date. She said no, prompting the alleged threat.

Moreno is due in court on July 25th.

http://www.wowt.com/content/news/Uber-driver-allegedly-threatened-fare-who-shot-down-his-pitch-for-a-date-432296123.html

Uber driver accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting intoxicated female passenger

Richard WintonContact Reporter

A 46-year-old Uber driver with felony record has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping after an intoxicated passenger was taken to a hotel and attacked.

Los Angeles police said Monday that Alaric Spence picked up a 24-year woman who had been out drinking in downtown Los Angeles.

She fell unconscious in his car, said LAPD Robbery Homicide Capt. William Hayes.

Instead of taking to her home to Hollywood, the driver allegedly took her to a motel on Lankershim Boulevard and sexually assaulted her, Hayes said.

Hayes said the victim awoke to find herself in a strange motel and remembered falling asleep in the back of the Uber car.

“There is a video showing him carrying her into the hotel,” Hayes said.

Police said it’s possible there are other victims and urged anyone with information to come forward. Spence was driving a silver 2015 Nissan Sentra with the license plate No. 7XUX293.

Nissan Sentra identified as Uber vehicle of Alaric Spence in alleged kidnap and sex assault (LAPD)

Spence, 46, of North Hollywood has five prior felony convictions for narcotics possession and narcotics possession for sale, Hayes said. He had worked for Uber for six months.

Uber in a statement said it is fully supporting the LAPD investigation and has banned the driver. “ No person should ever have to experience the violent act that’s been reported to police,” the company said.

Spence’s prior narcotics felony convictions are from 1990s, records show. Uber follows California law that forbids the hiring of drivers who are convicted of any felony in the last seven years.

The arrest marks latest sexual assault allegations to involve a driver for the ride-hailing service.

Earlier this month, an Uber driver was accused of sexually attacking a passenger during a ride in the Bay Area. Leonid Beker of San Francisco was taken into custody on suspicion of sexual battery, according to the Moraga Police Department.

In April, an Uber driver in Orange County was charged with raping a passenger who was riding home from a work-related event, authorities said.

The alleged rape occurred March 30, when Angel Sanchez picked up a woman at a company gathering in Newport Beach, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Sanchez drove the woman near her home in Santa Ana and sexually assaulted her in his 2016 Toyota Sienna, prosecutors alleged.

Last year, a West Hollywood woman sued Uber Technologies, alleging that the ride-hailing company’s negligence led to her being raped by an Uber driver.

The incident allegedly occurred July 21, 2014, when the plaintiff took an Uber to her boyfriend’s home after a night out. According to the lawsuit, she never made it to his house, and the last thing she remembers was taking a sip from a water bottle provided by the driver while in the passenger seat of his car.

The UCLA Rape Treatment Center matched the DNA found on the plaintiff to a Uber driver who pleaded no contest to a charge of criminal sexual battery.

In January, state legislators enacted a law that forbids companies including Uber and Lyft from hiring drivers who are registered sex offenders, have been convicted of violent felonies or have had a DUI conviction within the last seven years.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sex-crime-uber-20170626-story.html

Toronto Uber driver charged with sex assault of girl, 15

Police say passenger was allegedly attacked in a vehicle after she was picked up from the downtown bus station.

By ALANNA RIZZAStaff Reporter

Wed., May 31, 2017

 Toronto man has been charged with sexual assault after a 15-year-old girl said she was attacked by an Uber driver.

Police say the girl was allegedly assaulted during a ride on Jan. 25 after she got into an Uber vehicle at the downtown bus terminal at Bay St. and Edward St.

The investigation began in May after the girl spoke to police.

On May 18, Fahmy Saggaf, 41, was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference.

He is scheduled to appear in court in June.

https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2017/05/31/toronto-uber-driver-charged-with-sex-assault-of-girl-15.html