Uber Under the Microscope Again

Uber is under the microscope again. This time it involves background checks. During the past week, the controversial ride-sharing service has come under attack because of their questionable business tactics and inability to provide the safety to their passengers that they have been vocal about.

According to their website, Uber claims the background checks they perform on their drivers is more comprehensive and grueling than most required for standard taxi drivers. However, the online taxi service was banned in New Delhi recently for the alleged rape of a passenger by an Uber driver who had been convicted of a similar crime a few years earlier.

New Delhi is not the only place having difficulty with the taxi company’s policies. Max Tyler, a state representative for Colorado, commented that he is concerned for the safety of the passengers. He also made a note that if background checks are done, the results are not available so see so no one knows if they are good or bad. Colorado currently does not have a law the requires a FBI background check or fingerprinting, which is required of traditional taxi services.

Uber’s response to the accusations that they are not performing rigorous background checks was to point out that the company is scheduled to complete over 2 million checks by the end of the year. They use an outside contractor to complete those background checks.

The online taxi service is also facing problems in Oregon, where they recently set up shop. They are being sued because they are allegedly operating under illegal practices. In Spain, there is a temporary ban on the service from operating.

Earlier in the year, and Uber driver who was previously convicted for driving recklessly, is at the center of a wrongful death lawsuit for allegedly killing a 6-year-old girl. The driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter.

In an effort to get more drivers on the road quickly, some lawmakers are saying that the background checks are taking a back seat. However, the company that ride-sharing service uses for background checks claims they have a standard turnaround time of anywhere from 36 hours to two business days.

Clearly, Uber is being scrutinized under the microscope again and the reasons keep piling up. The District Attorney in San Francisco, George Gascón, filed a lawsuit against Uber, citing that the ride-sharing company was being misleading about background checks. The rival online taxi service, Lyft, was also named in a lawsuit for the same reason.

Allegedly, the ride-sharing service had hired lobbyists earlier in the year after two bills were passed in Illinois that would require heavier regulations on Uber drivers. The bills were largely supported by the taxi industry. However, a newer version of that legislation that was passed during the summer would give drivers looser restrictions.

Legal business practices and background checks for drivers are becoming increasingly important as the debris keeps piling up for Uber. The popular online ride-sharing service, Uber, remains in the spotlight and under the microscope as it continues to battle against the government and taxi industry for place in the economy.

By Kerri Cushna

New York Times
Los Angeles Times

Photo by epSos.de – Creativecommons Flickr License

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