Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Washington have discovered that there are an apparent gender and racial discrimination by Uber and Lyft drivers. The recently published study reveals that drivers cancel rides for African-American passengers. Furthermore, the drivers take the female passenger for longer rides.
The researchers have recommended that the passenger's identity should be anonymous. This may alleviate the issue of discrimination. However, this will in return result to a different way of treating passengers unfairly.
The Racial Discrimination Of Uber And Lyft Drivers
The study was conducted in Seattle and Boston. The passengers include four black and four white research assistants. They were able to hail almost 1,500 rides. The participants were equally divided among men and women.
According to Bloomberg, the passengers used their photos on the ride-sharing apps in the first test. The result of the study shows that African American passengers in Seattle have longer waiting times. Particularly, it's as much as a 35 percent increase.
As for the second test in Boston, the passengers had to use either African American-sounding or white-sounding names. This is because customer photos are not displayed in Uber's ride-hailing app.
Apparently, Uber drivers more frequently cancel rides for passengers with African American-sounding names. To be even more precise, male passengers with African American-sounding names are more than three times likely to have a canceled trip. This is compared to male passengers with white-sounding names.
The Gender Discrimination
Women face a different kind of discrimination. Instead of having their ride canceled, drivers tend to take female passengers for a longer ride. Thus, they had to pay even more. This was the test conducted in Boston.
The researchers said that drivers become chatty with female passengers. They added that the additional travel seems to be a combination of profiteering and flirting. Upfront fares is the suggested solution to this issue.
Uber And Lyft's Side
Bloomberg has asked both Uber and Lyft about the study. Lyft's spokesman Adrian Durbin insists that they do not tolerate any form of discrimination.
Uber's Head of North American operations Rachel Holt also mirrored Lyft's statement. She wrote in an email that discrimination has no place both in the society and on Uber.