A lot of controversies have come Uber’s way recently as claims of high numbers of rapes and sexual assaults appear to have been hidden from the public. Apparently, information detailing much higher numbers had been leaked out by someone at Uber, but they have since denied that the information is correct. Now, a new female-only Uber service called Chariot for Women is looking to start soon in an effort to change things, but is the practice legal?
BuzzFeed News is reporting that they had received data from Uber which said they had a mere five claims of rape and “fewer than” 170 claims of sexual assault directly related to an Uber ride. This was based on data in the customer service database between the months of December 2012 and August 2015.
This information was provided by Uber as a way of trying to refute the screenshots that BuzzFeed News received from someone claiming to be a former customer service representative with Uber. The screenshots showed detailed searches conducted on Uber’s Zendesk platform through that time frame and numbers that were far greater.
One of the screenshots details 6,160 Uber customer support tickets returned from a search for “sexual assault.” When searching for the word “rape,” there is a return of 5,287 tickets. Different variations of search terms brought about other results as well including 383 for “sexually assaulted” and 3,524 for “assaulted.”
As soon as Uber had learned of these screenshots, they began checking with other customer service representatives who may have used the database on Zendesk to search for “rape” and/or “sexual assault.” This was done in an attempt to find out if the leaker was still employed by the company.
Uber has sent insistence that the information is not accurate, and it is nowhere near the amount of actual sexual assaults brought against the company. Internal and legal reviews are currently being done to give accurate information and Uber still says the numbers shown by BuzzFeed News are “significantly overstated.”
A spokesperson for Uber has spoken out regarding the screenshots and allegations.
“We are deeply committed to providing a ride people can trust, and our technology allows us to focus on safety before, during, and after every trip. Even one incident of this nature is one too many.”
As Uber goes through these issues and tries to straighten out what they say is incorrect information, there is a new version of the pay-for-ride system coming into play. Chariot For Women is a new ridesharing service that is set to begin soon, but there’s a catch – it’s for women only.
Chariot for Women was conceived by president Kelly Pelletz and founder, Michael Pelletz. Now, though, they are looking to rename the company and make it all about “you” as their Facebook page details in the new contest.
Michael Pelletz is a former Uber driver and he had shuttled around over 850 passengers before having his first “unsafe ride.” With a passenger that was very uneasy and possibly violent, Michael began wondering how a woman would feel if she had been in that situation.
He came up with the idea of Chariot for Women, and it is set to launch its service on April 19. However, it is already running into some problems. The Boston Globe believes there could be civil rights lawyers who will have a field day with the idea of making it strictly for women.
Chariot for Women states that it will ensure the safety of the drivers and the passengers by keeping adult men out of the equation. Only women and children will be allowed as passengers in the vehicles, and there will be a system in place to keep things safe.
To make sure that passengers are getting into the correct car, they will have to give the “safe word” that appears on both the passenger and the driver’s phones. Drivers will answer a daily-changing security question to prove their identity.
Chariot for Women is going to be met with a lot of opposition and probably receive a good bit of backlash as well even though their intentions appear pure. While Uber works on finding out who revealed this possibly incorrect information regarding sexual assaults and rapes, it’s going to likely affect their business. Now, it’s just a matter of finding out the truth and what is legal or not.
[Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images]