“Uber is the best-known and most exciting vehicle start-up since Zipcar—it counts Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs among its many investors. When it launched in 2010, it allowed riders to request pickups by livery-service black cars with the swipe of an iPhone app; it has been particularly lauded by the technology community in San Francisco, where waiting for a taxi can feel like waiting for an eclipse.” (Matt Buchanan)
No matter how revolutionary Uber may seem, it is potentially dangerous, as well as other ride-sharing services. The main reason behind this is because they are a new technology and a new way of going about things.
Committing a crime may be much more difficult when using these new services than using a cab but there are still individuals who are in an uproar about how dangerous these services because of their ability to abet criminal activity. Their fear is not completely unfounded; there was a case in Washington, D.C., where one of Uber’s drivers got accused of sexual assault after he drove the customer home. This allegation was brought to the public’s attention back in December of 2012 and resulted in the driver being arrested. However, he was soon released with no charges brought against him. Because of this incident, Uber was accused of being lax with safety. It did not matter that the company did background checks and made sure they had the necessary regulations and permits when partnering with third-party limo and taxi services. The drivers hired by Uber are made to follow the regulations in their jurisdiction. Depending on the vehicle they drive, they are required to have the license or permit needed to drive the vehicle but in San Francisco and Austin, they started operating their ride sharing service that did not require drivers to have those licenses or permits. That was where circumstances got a bit strange, starting the argument that Uber had lousy hiring practices. In general, Uber and its partners kept to the same regulations that all other cab or limo services are subject to and if their regulations are lenient, so are those of most limo or cab services.
If you run a Google search for cab drivers and incidences or rape, you are sure to find scores of articles that make note of such cases. The most alarming factor in all the stories you will find that is that sexual assault is not a crime that is rarely committed; in fact, they are much more common than they should be. What Uber, Lyft, and SideCar have that most limo or taxi services don’t is an identity system that connects a ride to its driver. They also have rating systems that help monitor which drivers are doing well and which ones are not. Unhappy passengers can report anything unpleasant or unusual during their ride and these complaints will be included in their feedback system. In the event of any criminal activity, they will have the time, date, and ride logs that they can use to identify suspects fairly quickly. This means that if you were a criminal who found a way to dupe the hiring process for those ride-sharing services, you’d be a rather foolish criminal to do anything suspect while you are on the job.
There are some people who are much more open to change than others and if you are one of them, technology shouldn’t scare you when it comes to trying new things out. In the long run, you might find that there is greater convenience in things that were once thought dangerous.
Tags: business, online, sharing services