A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has resulted in some troubling findings. The report “found that requests for UberX and Lyft from African Americans in Seattle took between 16 and 28 percent longer to be accepted. In Boston, meanwhile, African American males saw cancelation rates that were three times higher than those for white males for Uber riders.”
In an effort to distance themselves from the negative findings, both Lyft and Uber have denounced rider discrimination and promoted their commitment to diversity.
Some aren’t buying in however. "We think tech companies are going to build technology to remove the biases that we have as human beings in America,“ Wayne Sutton, co-founder of the tech diversity conference Tech Inclusion said. "And that is currently not the case.”
Like most tech companies, Uber and Lyft have a problem recruiting diverse employees within the ranks. Unlike most tech companies, neither organization is fond of releasing their workplace numbers. To make matter worse, in “the past, both companies have been sued for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act after users with disabilities alleged that drivers canceled rides or harassed them for having wheelchairs or service dogs.”
In the end, Uber last year made $1.5 billion in revenue. As a black man who’s spent time in cities where catching a Taxi was….complex….I have to admit that waiting 10 to 20 minutes for an Uber is an improvement. Still, it is unsettling to read things like this; “Diversity is just thought of as a fringe project or a side project that they’ll get around to eventually but isn’t really top of mind,” a person, who requested anonymity due to fear of repercussion stated. “That’s the energy and the feeling that I got within the company”