Uber Report Highlights Difficulty Combating Sexual Assault Within The Ride-Share Industry

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Drivers protest Uber's elimination of fuel surcharges in Saugus
App driver Ehab Hilali speaks during a protest against Uber's elimination of fuel surcharges for drivers amid high gas prices, in Saugus, Massachusetts, U.S., June 14, 2022.

According to Uber's safety report released on Thursday, the number of sexual assaults associated with the ride-share service continues to decrease but is proving difficult to eradicate.

Uber reported that over 99.9% of its rides have no reports of inappropriate or dangerous behavior. Still, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, even with the number of rides decreasing by 80% in early 2020, the service received 3,824 reports of severe sexual assault and misconduct.

Uber acknowledged in the report that "even one critical incident is one too many, as it reflects the experience of an individual using Uber . . . [but] ultimately our platform reflects the world in which we operate."

The ride-share service's report highlighted a general rise in crime and traffic incidents since the start of the pandemic in 2020. However, Uber is not the only ride-share service that has a problem with sexual assault or harassment. 

Lyft, Uber's main competitor, received over 4,000 reports of sexual assault from 2017 to 2019. The number of reports of sexual assault increased each year recorded in the report, according to The Guardian.

"Lyft cultivated a brand image as a safer, more socially conscious rideshare alternative . . . After the IPO, however, scores of reports came to light of Lyft drivers sexually assaulting their passengers," the filing read, according to CNN.

Lawsuits have been filed against Uber and Lyft for sexual assaults associated with the services, including attempts to silence those who reported their assaults. Last month, Uber agreed to a $25 million settlement with shareholders over safety issues not disclosed before the company went public.

Among the legal challenges facing the ride-sharing industry,  St. Louis injury law firm Goldblatt and Singer accuses Uber of lax hiring procedures and a lack of driver training and transparency about the people in their vehicles -- both passengers and drivers.


Uber and Australia's powerful Transport Workers Union have said they both support the creation of an independent body to create standards across the 'gig' economy
Uber and Australia's powerful Transport Workers Union have said they both support the creation of an independent body to create standards across the 'gig' economy
Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson

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