Safety Uber Alles

 

shutterstock_246422644On 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.

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  1. San Joaquin Sam Inactive
    San Joaquin Sam
    @SanJoaquinSam

    Was absolutely shocked to find she is a “journalist”.

    • #31
  2. John Paul Inactive
    John Paul
    @JohnPaul

    I love the commentary, but am utterly depressed that when there is a choice between Uber and a taxi, a progressive argues for more regulation for Uber (which thrives by meeting market demand) rather than sticking with a taxi (which sucks, but is “safe” because it’s regulated). It’s madness.

    • #32
  3. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    I’m sure there are a good number of people who think prostitution should be legal but hiring an Uber driver without a medallion should not be.

    • #33
  4. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Johnny Dubya:Thank goodness the illegal immigrants who are employed by landscaping businesses and swarm over millions of lawns across the country are all subjected to rigorous background checks.

    Yeah, the bleeding heart probably would invite an “undocumented” painter or plumber into her home while she is alone without even thinking about it. To not do so would be racist.

    • #34
  5. Rapporteur Coolidge
    Rapporteur
    @Rapporteur

    New Uber driver’s perspective …

    It’s not as though cities aren’t trying. Take, for example, my neighboring city of Columbus (please). Although the Uber proof of registration/license/insurance/background check process is sufficient to allow drivers to pick up in the suburbs, should one wish to pick up within the city limits of Columbus, s/he must obtain a “peer-to-peer license” from the city. That P2P license requires the additional submission of:

    • a 3-year driver abstract, showing the P2P applicant’s driving record ($5);
    • a vehicle inspection report by an ASE-certified mechanic ($20-40);
    • proof of vehicle ownership, or a letter showing the owner’s permission;
    • fingerprints; and
    • an affadavit and a request for a background check ($30-75)

    Once submitted (in person, not online), the license application will be processed and the license issued within 5-7 days. However, the applicant must call to find out the status of the application; s/he will not receive a call when the license is ready.  (Details are at http://uberohio.com/cities/columbus/p2p/ for them as think I’m making this up.)

    I thought maybe this was a state requirement, or that lots of cities in Ohio require this same level of scrutiny, but … nope. Only Columbus. We must be a singularly unsafe place with a lot of sketchy drivers.

    • #35
  6. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Rapporteur: That P2P license requires the additional submission of: a 3-year driver abstract, showing the P2P applicant’s driving record ($5); a vehicle inspection report by an ASE-certified mechanic ($20-40); proof of vehicle ownership, or a letter showing the owner’s permission; fingerprints; and an affadavit and a request for a background check ($30-75) Once submitted (in person, not online), the license application will be processed and the license issued within 5-7 days….I thought maybe this was a state requirement, or that lots of cities in Ohio require this same level of scrutiny, but … nope. Only Columbus. We must be a singularly unsafe place with a lot of sketchy drivers.

    My initial reaction is, this sounds more like a fee grab than anything.  I’m curious what the rejection rate is.

    Though I’m curious why the government needs your fingerprints to let you give someone a ride for money.  I’m noticing more and more the need to provide fingerprints to get random things.  I needed to provide fingerprints to get Global Entry (which sorta/kinda makes sense) and to get a concealed carry permit (which is completely understandable). I was in the military with a security clearance, so my fingerprints have been on record for decades, but I suspect the need to provide fingerprints would deter some privacy hawks.

    • #36
  7. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    As Ryan M. notes, citing that there have been assaults have taken place in Uber cars is almost meaningless without knowing about similar statistics for the alternatives (and particularly for taxis).

    We can also have fun with the observation that at least some of the assaults that occurred in connection with Uber cars were assaults on the Uber cars perpetrated by protesting taxi drivers.

    • #37
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Frank Soto #3

     I do think Lyft and Uber need to somehow be regulated.

    I love calls for regulation when no specific regulation is being articulated. They must “somehow” be regulated.

    Do something.  Anything.

    The knee-jerk reaction to regulate without any thought of whether the regulation would do any good drives me nuts. This is particularly obvious in gun regulations.

    • #38
  9. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Rapporteur:New Uber driver’s perspective …

    It’s not as though cities aren’t trying. Take, for example, my neighboring city of Columbus (please). Although the Uber proof of registration/license/insurance/background check process is sufficient to allow drivers to pick up in the suburbs, should one wish to pick up within the city limits of Columbus, s/he must obtain a “peer-to-peer license” from the city. That P2P license requires the additional submission of:

    • a 3-year driver abstract, showing the P2P applicant’s driving record ($5);
    • a vehicle inspection report by an ASE-certified mechanic ($20-40);
    • proof of vehicle ownership, or a letter showing the owner’s permission;
    • fingerprints; and
    • an affadavit and a request for a background check ($30-75)

    Once submitted (in person, not online), the license application will be processed and the license issued within 5-7 days. However, the applicant must call to find out the status of the application; s/he will not receive a call when the license is ready. (Details are at http://uberohio.com/cities/columbus/p2p/ for them as think I’m making this up.)

    I thought maybe this was a state requirement, or that lots of cities in Ohio require this same level of scrutiny, but … nope. Only Columbus. We must be a singularly unsafe place with a lot of sketchy drivers.

    And I bet Columbus is sanctuary city, right?

    • #39
  10. Rapporteur Coolidge
    Rapporteur
    @Rapporteur

    Frozen Chosen: And I bet Columbus is sanctuary city, right?

    Well, no, but …

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/07/27/officials-city-isnt-sanctuary.html

    Columbus does not have a so-called sanctuary-city law on the books, even though a national group says on its website that the city provides a haven for undocumented immigrants.

    • #40
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