Is Uber Safe for Women?

Uber has been been in the hot seat when it comes to passenger safety. With hundreds of incident reports including verbal threats, physical and sexual assault, rape, theft and serious traffic accidents, consumers reasonably question their safety. There have even been several major social media influencers that have gone viral with videos promoting tips on how to “Stay Safe with Uber”. Tips include sharing your ride information with a friend and never riding alone when possible.

According to a confidential internal memo, Uber reports at least 1,200 of these cases per week which are handled by a special investigation task force within the company. The memo notes that, as of May, “most of the SIU’s investigators were in their 20s and 30s.” According to a CNN analysis of former and current employees, “one Uber investigator went from being a Starbucks barista to handling calls from victims. Another was a manager at Chipotle before he became an investigator.” The memo also says many of the SIU’s investigators had “law enforcement, investigations and military backgrounds.” According to one spokesperson for the company, Uber commissioned the memo as part of its “broader efforts to stand up a best-in-class, specialized investigations team.”

While it is true that their investigations of these terrible claims are ongoing, the information is not available to the public. For more than a year, CNN has been pushing Uber to reveal its data on allegations of sexual abuse and assault on it’s platform, but Uber has said the numbers will not be ready until sometime in 2019. This is convenient timing as the company plans to go public this year as well. Continued assault reports and lack of trust for Uber could have a negative impact.

These types of incidents are not isolated to Uber, as other ride share companies have reported claims of abusive drivers. Reports like these should be available for the public from which these companies profit, and should serve as motivation for increased action toward preventative and proactive safety policies.

Information sourced from Sara Ashley O’Brien, Nelli Black, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin of CNN’s investigative report published April 2018.