Black Folks and Uber/Lyft/Flywheel

31 Oct

Massive discrimination by Uber et al drivers.

Black people can’t get Uber drivers to pick them up, and women have drivers who want to pick them up too much

Black people can't get Uber drivers to pick them up, and women have drivers who want to pick them up too much

A new study published Monday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that racial and gender discrimination are rampant among Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel drivers.

 The study, which studied the behavior of UberX, Lyft, and Flywheel drivers in Seattle and Boston, appeared on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s website. It involved nearly 1,500 rides across both cities.

It found that male customers with names that sounded African-American were more than twice as likely to have their rides canceled by the drivers than their white counterparts (11.2 percent to 4.5 percent), while women with African-American names were nearly twice as likely to experience that outcome than white women (8.4 percent to 5.4 percent). In areas with low population densities, the cancellation rate for African Americans skyrocketed to 15.7 percent —three times that of white males.

Similarly, black customers in Seattle could expect to wait an average of 8 percent longer than white customers in terms of overall time. Women in Boston were driven an average of 6 percent further than men. Both women and African-Americans in general had to face slightly longer and often more expensive rides as a result of drivers either choosing longer routes or simply taking more time during the ride itself.

Many of the female students in Boston also reported that drivers tended to take up more time forcing conversation with them, with the researcher observing that the motive “appears to be a combination of profiteering and flirting to a captive audience.” Even though the routes were pre-planned to not exceed a mile or two (and thus limit the study’s cost), male drivers frequently took female drivers on much longer rides, with one participant recalling a driver going through the same intersection three time during a single trip.

“It seems to be a few bad actors,” explained Stephen M. Zoepf, the executive director for the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford and one of the study’s authors. “A few drivers were taking routes that were five-times as long as they should be.”

While the especially creepy behavior seems to be limited to a handful of drivers, though, the overall pattern of sexist and racist discrimination is quite prevalent. It is clear that Uber, Lyft, and Flywheel need to find ways of guaranteeing that their companies don’t become yet one more haven for white male privilege.


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2 responses to “Black Folks and Uber/Lyft/Flywheel

  1. lkeke35

    October 31, 2016 at 6:04 PM

    Yeah well the pattern I’ve discovered is any opportunity some white people can use to show their dislike of black people, they’ll take it. White people are are forever implementing systems that do not take anti-blackness into account, so I’m not remotely surprised by any of this.


    • btx3

      October 31, 2016 at 6:49 PM

      I remember as a kid after desegregation of some of the theaters in the are where I grew up, it really didn’t matter how good the movie was…There was always the excitement of the fight after the movie. The white kids wouldn’t attack until they had us outnumbered 2 or 3 to one. So, I at least learned to fight dirty without causing any real damage which might require medical attention. Why? Because if you really hurt one of those kids, your ass was going to jail. You were going to jail anyway if the cops showed up, and you didn’t get out of Dodge. Didn’t matter if there were 5 of you, and 15 of them.

      Recently had coffee with a white woman at a local Restaurant I have been going to for years. She is a Real Estate agent, and we met to discuss some property that was listed for sale. The place has changed hands recently, and I noticed the long time very personable black waitress and the black counter server who everyone talked to as a source of local news whose station was behind the 50’s style counter with bar stools was gone. Asked for coffee. They brought it, and it was lukewarm. Drank it anyway and asked for a refill. The staff managed to walk around us and ignore us for the next hour. It got so bad several of the other white patrons started complaining. The Real Estate Agent recognized what was going on and laid into the manager.

      Welcome to Trump’s America.

      Liked by 1 person


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