Pump the Brakes

A chronicle of Uber’s recent downward spiral

For women’s safety, the ride-sharing company continues to make wrong turns

Indian residents hold placards and chant slogans as they take part in a protest against the alleged rape of a passenger by a driver working for the Uber taxi company in New Delhi. STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
Uber is under fire again this week after it asked a U.S. court to dismiss a case involving an alleged rape in India by one of its drivers. This news is just the latest in a flurry of negative headlines of late that have many questioning whether Uber is genuinely committed to the safety of its drivers and passengers. Here are our Cliff’s Notes on the company’s brushes with the law, failures, publicity gaffes, and attempts to pass the buck over the last few months.

 

December 8, 2014
CNN: In India, Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav is arrested after the alleged rape of a 26-year-old woman. It’s later learned that when he registered to be a driver, he used an incorrect address, which went unverified by the car service. “He was not having (the mandatory) security badge which is given after police verification,” according to police.

 

December 9, 2014
CNN: Following rape accusations, India’s federal government warned states against allowing unlicensed web-based taxi services. According to authorities, Uber was operating as a local taxi service, but held a national permit, which did not permit them to operate taxis ferrying passengers from one destination to another within a city.

 

December 18, 2014
The Boston Globe: In Boston, an Uber driver is accused of raping and kidnapping a young woman. Alejandro Done, 46, was accused of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and two counts of assault and battery.

 

January 9, 2015
Times of India: Disturbing details surface in the case against Shiv Kumar Yadav. A doctor who examined the victim told the court that scratch marks were found on her neck showing an attempt was made to strangulate her.

 

February 3, 2015
LA Times: In Los Angeles, a woman reported she was assaulted by an off-duty Uber driver after he allegedly lured her into the car he uses while on the job.

 

March 10, 2015
CNN: In the wake of criticism about the safety of its female passengers, Uber announced a plan to hire women drivers as part of a partnership with U.N. Women.

 

March 23, 2015
Women in the World: U.N. Women drops its partnership with Uber, after a coalition of global labor unions denounced it, stating that “the creation of 1 million precarious, informal jobs will not contribute to women’s economic empowerment and represents exactly the type of structural inequality within the labor market that the women’s movement has been fighting for decades.”

 

March 23, 2015
Women in the World: In light of safety concerns, we asked women if they would really consider a career with ride-sharing company.

 

April 7, 2015
Women in the World: Uber asks the court to dismiss the claim made against Shiv Kumar Yadav, since the company maintains that it cannot be held legally responsible for its driver’s acts.

 

April 7, 2015
thenextweb.com: Uber U.S. argues that the alleged assailant’s contract was with Uber B.V., a Netherlands-based entity, shedding light on the fact that Uber’s corporate structure is set up so that this entity is not affiliated with Uber U.S., sheltering it from possible overseas liabilities.

 

April 8, 2015
The Economic Times: In response to Uber’s argument, a partner at the New York-based law firm representing the Delhi-based woman said, “The motion is an obvious attempt at deflecting responsibility and we are confident that Uber will ultimately be held accountable for its actions.”

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