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Why Are We Here With Uber? April 30, 2018

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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An interesting study by CNN points out that over 100 Uber drivers have been accused of rape or sexual assault.  Perhaps many more have done so, but CNN has attempted to match reports with actions.  It has to be clear to even the most dense rider that this has to do with the fact that the vetting of drivers is minimal, and there is no follow-up or tracking of driver encounters with the law.

Uber, of course, claims that the drivers are not employees, but individual contractors, so they are not responsible for aberrant behaviors.  And Uber forces riders into arbitration, even for clear felonies.  I am sorry, a felony is not something you can arbitrate.  Even under not-so-new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress.  And of course, former CEO (and still board member) Travis Kalanick simply created, enabled, and contributed to this sick culture.

So I have to ask the question: Why are we here?

We are here for a couple of reasons.  First, and probably foremost, Uber customers have supported this behavior.  I recall a viral LinkedIn post from several months ago where a young lady declared, “I don’t care what the company does.  I just want cheap and convenient rides.”

And face it, isn’t that why you use Uber?  You really don’t care that they have a sick corporate culture, or that some small percentage of drivers attack passengers.  You want to get from Point A to Point B with as little friction as possible, and screw the complications.

Second, we are here because Uber knows what you want.  You want those cheap and convenient rides.  And you don’t want to go through the hassles of finding a taxi, or getting a phone number for a taxi company in a new city, or talking to someone, or waiting for a taxi.

Uber gives that to you, because it’s convenient.  That doesn’t make it right.

You can make a difference, if it means something to you.

It means something to me.

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