The world seemed to lose it’s mind when Uber was created, no need to pay the $2 eftpos surcharge because we had transport that we could access straight from our phone – and pay for the same way.
Whether it was the end of a long night after one too many vinos to drive, or simply the middle of the day and you couldn’t be bothered to walk 30 minutes. Whatever the situation, Uber is a life saver.
Unfortunately there is some bad news for women and African American people. According to this new study there is racial and gender discrimination in transport network companies such as Uber and similar American companies Lyft and Flywheel.
Three universities – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and the University of Washington – worked together to assess data from almost 1,500 journeys taken in Seattle and Boston.
Obviously this is an American study, but we are left wondering if similar outcomes would be seen here (hoping that there aren’t!)
This was done by giving students identical phones and told to take “pre-organised” journeys. They measured when the ride was requested, accepted, picked up and at their destination. To study any possible racial discrimination members were given African American-sounding names or white-sounding names.
The outcome of this two-year study was a bit embarrassing for poor Uber, with male passengers “more than three times as likely to have their trip canceled when they used a African American-sounding name than when they used a white-sounding name.”
Likewise, trips for female passengers took longer and were more expensive …
The companies didn’t stay quiet, in a statement to the BBC, Uber said they believe that “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.”
Lyft, on the other hand, stated that they believe they have positively impacted “communities of colour. Because of Lyft, people living in underserved areas – which taxis have historically neglected – are now able to access convenient, affordable rides.”
Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Just be vigilant when you get your next Uber!