Letter to the Editor:Ride Share Background Checks

20150416-085509.jpg

20150416-085459.jpg
By Stephen Regan from the MRTA (Mass Regional Taxi Advocacy Group)

The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News Weekly and Boston News Group belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News Weekly or Boston News Group, its staff or publishers)

WE ASK THIS QUESTION…Do billions of dollars and a high tech address in Silicon Valley allow you to sexually assault and rape people?

Ride shares like Uber claim they have the most stringent background checks in the business. Yet felons are allowed to be partners and to drive people for hire. A young woman from Houston was allegedly sexually assaulted by an Uber partner only to discover he was a convicted felon who was released from federal prison in 2012. Here in Boston there have been at least 4 alleged sexual assaults at the hands of these so called ride share partners. One man is still in prison pending a trial.

These are fair and serious questions. Mayor Sly James of St. Louis just called Uber out on their questionable business tactics. He said his city has bent over backwards for these ride share companies and has got nothing in return. They refuse to let the city perform background checks to protect his citizens. The St. Louis City Council voted unanimously to vote in ride share ordinances that would require these crucial background checks. Uber chose to leave the city rather than allow these background checks. They claim the regulations are too onerous and Uber made the choice to leave. He also challenged the opposing Uber drivers to go back to their company and ask them why they are against these safety checks. We applaud the City of St. Louis for doing it’s job to protect their citizens.

Uber, Lyft and ride share companies continue to fight any regulation or legislation that would require criminal background checks be conducted by law enforcement, including fingerpriting. Too costly? It really does not make sense since these well funded companies give away rides at will. These comprehensive background checks are not an expensive item. Let’s ask the question. Why wouldn’t they want to protect the very customers who are skyrocketing them into the “start up” Hall of Fame? This chronological list of sexual assault events do not include any of their non-sexual assaults, accident deaths and many kidnapping charges against their driver partners. If this were taxi or livery driver, their licenses to operate would be suspended immediately.
Read for yourself:

1. March 14, 2013 Rape in DC
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/uber-driver-charged-with-raping-woman-in-dc/2013/03/14/2bbf4c8e-8cb0-11e2-9838- d62f083ba93f_story.html

2. Sept 16 2013 Assault in DC
http://valleywag.gawker.com/uber-ceo-on-driver-assault-its-not-real-and-were-n-1323533057

3. Mar 28,2014, Sexual Harassment and Stalking
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/28/uber-s-biggest-problem-isn-t-surge-pricing-what-if-it-s-sexual-harassment-by-drivers.html

4. July 19, 2014 Sexual Assault DC
http://valleywag.gawker.com/another-uber-driver-stands-accused-of-sexually-assaulti-1612258968

5. Sept 25,2014 Sexual Assault in Orlando

Orlando Uber driver who allegedly groped female passenger said she was ‘asking for that’

6,7 & 8. Sept 25, 2014 Sexual Harassment 3 Times in San Francisco
http://abc7news.com/325011/

9. Dec 8, 2014 Rape in India
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30374070

10. Dec 11,2014 Sexual Harassment in London
http://www.buzzfeed.com/franciswhittaker/uber-offers-customer-ps2-after-she-reported-her-drivers-sexu

11 & 12. Dec 17, 2014 Sexual Assault in Boston 2 times
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/16/least-two-women-who-reported-sexual-assaults-boston-sunday-were-using-uber-police-say/cFHpgzcfIoBYiTfWgOqYOK/story.html

13. Dec 18, 2014 Rape in Boston
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/17/uber-driver-accused-rape-kidnapping-customer/KYnOQczKFqggfbnri2FpGL/story.html

14. Dec 30, 2015 Sexual Assault in Chicago
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/30/uber-driver-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-chicago-passenger/

15. Jan 14, 2015 Sexual Assault in Chicago
http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/27851122/another-uber-driver-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-customer

16. Feb 3, 2015 Sexual Assault in Los Angeles
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uber-driver-sexual-assault-20150203-story.html

17. Feb 6, 2015 Rape and Kidnapping in Philadelphia
http://jezebel.com/philadelphia-woman-says-she-was-raped-and-kidnapped-by-1693382321

18. Feb 9, 2015 Sexual Assault Boston
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/02/09/boston-uber-driver-charged-with-indecent-assault-and-battery-boston-police-say/k9eKsX2q95hA9bdM13IorJ/story.html

19. Mar 25,2015 Sexual Assault in Paris
http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/25/8287519/uber-driver-arrested-sexual-assault-paris

20. Apr 1, 2015 Sexual Assault in Connecticut
http://www.quchronicle.com/2015/04/student-assaulted-in-presumed-uber-taxi/

21. Apr 6, 2015 Driver Demanded Sex in Michigan
http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/04/u-m_student_tells_police_uber.html

22. Apr 7, 2015 Rape in Houston by Driver with Federal Drug Conviction
http://m.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Uber-driver-had-federal-drug-conviction-6184061.php

Leave a Reply