Uber And Lyft Drivers Discriminate Against Certain Riders, According To Study

Posted: Nov 1 2016, 1:58pm CDT | by , in Latest Business News


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Uber and Lyft Drivers Discriminate Against Certain Riders, According to Study
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A new study out of MIT, the University of Washington, and Stanford University shows that there is racial discrimination about Uber and Lyft drivers. The study looked at over 1,500 actual rides with Uber and Lyft in both Seattle and Boston, where it was revealed that drivers take longer to pick up customers and cancel rides more often when the person is African-American or has an African-American sounding name.

One phased showed a longer wait for African American passengers (Seattle) while the other showed that customers with African-American-sounding names were canceled twice as often when compared to passengers with white sounding names (Boston).

“The patterns of discrimination were quite clear and consistent in both cities – and one can only assume it’s happening all across the country in other markets,” Christopher R. Knittel, an MIT professor and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “The study has found major areas of racial discrimination within this new industry. It’s quite concerning.”

Uber and Lyft disclose passenger information differently. On Uber, only a name is revealed, but Lyft shows a name and a headshot.

Researchers hope that they will be able to reduce discrimination by either changing how they reveal passenger information or offering up punishment for those that cancel rides.

“Though completely eliminating discrimination is likely impossible, there are steps TNCs can voluntarily take to minimize service bias against minorities,” Don MacKenzie, a University of Washington professor who co-authored the study, said in a statement. “We hope TNC companies take positive steps to address these problems.”

Both companies noted that discrimination is not tolerated by their agreements.

However, there is also discrimination within the traditional ride industry - taxis.

“In the Seattle experiment, we also document racial discrimination among conventional taxis, so we aren’t taking a stand on which system is better or worse,” Knittel said in a statement. “But, our study illustrates that discrimination among TNC drivers is occurring and we point to ways TNC companies can reduce this discrimination.”

You can access the full study here.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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