One of the fundamental problems with racism in a society is the everyday stuff. Black people have to deal with garbage like being asked to pay for services ahead of time, people slow-walking service, and waiting for taxis that either never show up or show up late. Uber and Lyft, a new study reveals, are helping out with that last one, but they still have some problems.
USA Today reports on a study conducted by UCLA’s Anne Brown, who was following up on a separate study two years ago that found Uber and Lyft drivers were twice as likely to cancel on a customer they thought was Black. Brown’s study was simple: She got students of different races to hail rides from different services, and timed how long it took the rides to show up.
Lyft and Uber don’t come off great, here: Lyft canceled on Black riders 7% of the time, compared to 5% for Asian and Latinx riders and 3% for white riders, while Uber canceled on Black riders 6% of the time, while only on Asian and Latinx riders 3% and white riders 2%. That added up to a total longer wait time of roughly one minute, on average. Brown observes that these can be fixed with a few policy changes. [UPDATE: Brown has updated her study to note that Lyft’s percentages are within the statistical margin of error, so they’re not a sign of an overall trend. Uber’s remain significant enough to require a revision to policy.]
But as bad as they are? Taxis in LA are a lot worse:
Taxi drivers in L.A. were 73 percent more likely to cancel on black riders than whites, and one-quarter of blacks were never sent a cab, according to the research. Black riders also waited 52 percent longer than whites for taxis….[and] taxis canceled rides on blacks 26 percent of the time, Asians/Hispanics 20 percent and whites 14 percent.
In other words, you’re better off using a rideshare app no matter who you are, but if you’re not white, there are still going to be problems. This isn’t the first time Uber and Lyft have dealt with issues of race. In January 2017, the #DeleteUber campaign launched amid Uber’s refusal to go along with a one-hour strike by taxi workers protesting the Muslim ban, for example. Still, this study shows that while ride-sharing services have their problems, other transportation industries are a lot worse.
(via USA Today)