In the past few months Uber has been in the spot light for not being a safe ride home due to sexual assaults that have happened during Uber rides. These reports beg the question of whether it is safer to take a ride home with an Uber or a taxi. However, taxis have also had reports about sexual assault that have been attributed to the taxi driver. The purpose of taking a taxi or Uber is to arrive safely at your destination, but reports prove that either option may not get you to your destination safely.
Across the country in 2015 Uber drivers were reportedly involved in 13 sexual assaults (Chiquillo). However, in New York City alone there were ten sexual assaults reported in 2015. According to New York City’s Police Commissioner; Bill Bratton, “sexual assaults by drivers [taxi drivers] are on the rise. Reports of rapes that have been committed by a stranger have risen 6% in New York City in the past year .” There is no data for how many sexual assaults occurred across the country by taxi drivers. It may be surprising that with the above data, both Uber and Taxi drivers all have to go through some form of background checks. Taxi drivers use their fingerprints to go through the FBI’s background check, while Uber drivers use a national, state and local criminal offense database. Both background checks have flaws that have allowed for perpetrators to slip through the background checks and become drivers. For example the flaw with using the FBI database is that if someone had previously been arrested but their fingerprint wasn’t taken at the time of arrest, they will not come up in the FBI’s database. A major flaw with the Uber’s system of background checks is that in some cases the background checks only go as far back as seven years.
The national Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association have a continuously updated website with all the news reports about negative incidents with ridesharing companies called Who’s driving you? This websites exists because the national Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association hope to deter people from using ridesharing companies by presenting those companies as an unsafe company and redirect business back to Taxi’s, Limos or Paratransit companies. However, no website exists that have compiled all incidents that have happened within the Taxi, Limo, or Paratransit organization. The New York Post article: Bratton tells women to ‘buddy up’ in cabs to prevent driver assaults; was written about the rising incidents of sexual assault in New York City by taxi drivers. This article doesn’t cover the statistics about sexual assault by taxi drivers for the rest of the country, but gives a glimpse into what the statistics may look like for other major U.S. cities. Published articles such as Uber News room and the details on safety, allows for customers to find out about background checks that Uber and taxis companies have in place that every driver has to go through before becoming a driver. Overall, because of the lack of national data on taxi drivers, it is hard to say whether taxis or Ubers are safer than one another.
Chiquillo, J. (2016). Recent incidents like Dallas rape cases raise question: Which is safer, Uber or Taxi? Retrieved from: Dallas News.
Kiplinger, L. (2016). Kalamazoo Shooting: A look at Uber Background checks. Retrieved from: USA Today.
Prendergast, D. & Sutherland, A. (2016). Bratton tells women to ‘buddy up’ in cabs to prevent driver assaults. Retrieved from: New York Post.
(2015). Details on safety. Retrieved from: Uber New room.
How much does Uber cost? Retrieved from: Tech Boomers.
(2016). Reported list of incidents involving Uber and Lyft. Who’s driving you?
Author: Elizabeth Rummel. Senior at the University of Vermont. Major: Public Communication, Minor: Community Entrepreneurship. Originally from Sherborn Massachusetts
Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams Faculty Advisor at the University of Vermont