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On a the Friday episode of Radio Boston — WBUR’s local news show that is, like NPR itself, equally informative and insufferable — a guest comment perfectly encapsulated the wrong-headed way that the Left addresses problems. While discussing recent controversies regarding ride-sharing programs like Lyft and Uber, guest Shira Springer said (starts around 9’12” into the file for the whole show):
I feel sorry for the taxi drivers in that respect, but I am for regulation. I do think Lyft and Uber need to somehow be regulated. And I’m speaking here as a single woman who is fearful of contacting an Uber driver and having them come and pick me up. Let’s be honest: there have been cases locally and globally where sexual assault [has] taken place with Uber pick ups. And so you have to kind of be conscious and aware of the consequences, perhaps, of calling a driver to your home or having a driver drop you off at your home and not having them have… a background check.
Of course, Uber and Lyft do require background checks, though they’re (apparently) not as rigorous as those for bus, taxi, and livery drivers in Massachusetts. Asked if requiring them to meet those standards would change her mind, Springer responded:
It wouldn’t satisfy me entirely… But yes, I think Uber and Lyft should be held to the same account as other transportation providers. You know, whether were talking bus drivers, taxi drivers, whatever the case may be. I want to know when I’m getting into an Uber or Lyft car that I can feel safe.
That desire to feel safe is as understandable as her prescriptions are maddening. Notice what’s missing from her comments:
- Acknowledgement that other people might judge risks differently than Springer, and should be allowed to do so. Springer didn’t call for Uber and Lyft to change their policies in order to gain her business, but argued that they should be required by law to change them.
- Consideration that these additional background checks might drive-up prices, disincline some drivers who aren’t willing to put up with so much hassle for a part-time job, and/or otherwise adversely affect Uber’s business.
- That — even if one stipulates that the reduced background checks are an issue — Uber and Lyft compensate for them in multiple ways. As I’ve noted before, every transaction through these services is logged, time-stamped, and mapped in real-time with the real names of both driver and passenger in the cloud. From the criminal’s perspective, there are few places worse to assault someone than in an Uber.
- Consideration that she might be responsible — to some degree — for her own safety (though Uber bans her from the most obvious means of protecting herself).
Freedom takes some effort and requires one to carry some risk, but provides incredible opportunities. If we can convince just a few more people of that, we can continue to do great things.