WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- If you’re black and have called for a taxi, Uber or Lyft, you have to wait an average of 30 minutes, but if you’re white, 20 minutes, Asian or Hispanic, more or less 25 minutes.
- Not only that, expect that your ride will have a 73% higher chance of being canceled than if you’re white, Asian or Hispanic.
- These are just among the many challenges that black passengers encounter when getting a ride from ride-sharing apps and taxis, in a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gathering a group of 18 UCLA students of various races and sending them to order over 1,700 rides around the city, research author Anne Brown monitored the average wait time for both ride-hailing apps and taxis and the number of rides canceled according to the race of the caller.
The study showed that there are difficulties for black passengers to get an Uber and Lyft ride and an even higher percentage of discrimination in taxis.
Other studies in recent years have proven that there is a link between race and color and getting a ride around town. A study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2016 reported a 35 percent longer wait time for black people in Seattle for their Uber than white people. And if the caller has a “black sounding” name, Uber drivers are more likely to cancel their ride. Similar results on the wait time for black passengers were also observed using the Lyft application.
Taxis, on the other hand, have more problems when it comes to fair treatment of all riders because they have a lesser responsibility, as reported by the UCLA study. In a related research in 2015, it was found that 66% of black respondents agreed that taxi drivers discriminate based on race while 47% among the white respondents agree.
Brown said that she is positive that both Uber and Lyft will be able to alter these trends than taxi services.
“From an equality point of view, there’s some way to go before the gap between riders is truly erased, but it’s far narrower with ride-hailing,” Brown told USA Today, “and with some policy changes, (Uber and Lyft) could erase the racial gap between riders entirely.
After the 2016 study was reported, Lyft said that they have worked towards avoiding discrimination. Uber spokesman Andrew Hasbun also shared that his company has “improved access to transportation in historically under-served communities and reduced the potential for discrimination.”
Subsequently, both Uber and Lyft are reported to have non-discrimination policies that ensure quality service and equal treatment to all riders no matter the race, religion, color, sex, gender identity among other identities. Each policy also states that a driver found to violate the rules will be fired from their jobs in the app-sharing company.
Source: Miami Herald