Uber Drivers Are More Likely to Cancel on Riders with Black-Sounding Names

Uber serves as an earning opportunity by providing several ways to strength local economies; improve access to the remote regions. The objective of Uber was to make transportation as reliable as possible.

With the introduction of this app, many with no vehicles enjoy pleasure of requesting a secure and reliable ride.

Yet another attack on the fame of the company is the racial discrimination among the passengers as well as drivers. A control group of 8 research assistants from various regions and races were selected to request rides. 2 African American women, 2 African American men, 2 white women, and 2 white men.

It was observed that the drivers cancel their drive upon judging a passenger by their name. If a driver is a white man then he would refrain to have an African in his car. However, when the same person requests for an Uber with a changed name the drivers accepts the new assignments.

The study showed that not only do African American passengers experience longer wait times, they’re subject to higher cancellation rates from drivers.

Besides these racial discrimination incidents, it was also observed that women are offered longer and pricier rides as compared to the men. The only possible reason suggested for the cause is that most women are unaware of the routes and thus they can be carried to their destination following a direction requires more distance to be covered and thus making the drivers more money.

The problem is not only associated with Uber, similar problems are faced by other ride providers like Lyft. However, the rejection rate owing to racial discrimination is quite less as compared to Uber. Researchers suggest that a possible reason for the cause lies in the interface of Apps.

Lyft requires a display picture along with the name of passenger and driver so it would aid a lot to both of them. Moreover, they can cancel the assignment before contacting their passenger. Thus, it provides users to communicate with different locals of individual.

To sum up all, ride sharing apps are a good advancement in the field of transportation as they enable people to access the cabs easily and provide them a reliable and safer ride. In providing the quality service a few cons are observed that can be eliminated with the passage of time. Uber and Lyft both have mentioned that there isn’t any discrimination and if there’s any, it will be eliminated and dealt with.

The study was published by researchers at MIT, Stanford, and the University of Washington, recorded data from 1,500 rides in Boston MA and Seattle WA.

Uber drivers get discriminated against too (My opinion)

One thing this study didn’t cover was the fact that Uber drivers get discriminated based on their names and skin color as well.  Uber riders get to see not only the drivers’ name but also their photos when they’re assigned a ride.

I can’t tell you how many times I heard Uber drivers complain how their ratings plummeted and the minute they change their nicknames to more western like. They’ve seen big improvement.

A Middle Eastern man who drives for Uber goes by the name “Samiir”, kept getting low ratings to the point where he received a warning of being deactivated.  He changed his profile name to “Sam”, he told me that he saw his Uber ratings kept going up and he received twenty 5-star ratings consecutively.

You can call that whatever you want, but it’s clearly not a coincidence his driver ratings improve the minute he changed his name to a more traditional American name.

Higher cancellations rates may not necessarily racist.

I’m not going to dispute that a few or some Uber drivers won’t go to pick up riders to a black neighborhood at a certain time. As the study shows, those with black-sounding names (Laquisha, Precious, DeAndre, Trevon…) get cancelled more than those with white sounding names (Scott, Cody, Emily, Heather…)

But sometimes after you accept a request, only to find out it is 20-25 minutes away. I don’t care if you’re Black or White; I’m not going to drive that far.  Most of the time you make a long drive to pick up a rider and it ends up being a short ride. And Uber passengers don’t usually tip. So, I give the benefit of the doubt that some drivers will just cancel, if it turns out a white driver who just cancel on a black person or vise versa, it’s not discrimination.

  • Scott

    I find those passengers I pick up and give the SAME treatment as anyone else tend to rate me bad , offer no tip, disrespect me and my vehicle . So why should I pick up here? I realize that a few bad apples spoil the bunch but I’m running a business that relies on MUTUAL respect and at this time in our history its apparent we still can’t show some basic human consideration for one another.? Shameful. So why weren’t those reverse discrimination facts discussed in this article? I would press your writers to have more balance from drivers perspectives in these articles before they add more to the ‘racism’ in this country.

    • @Scott, thanks for your comment. I assume by “those passengers” you mean black passengers and I assume you’re a white driver… based on that, I’ll try to answer your question. First off, Black passengers probably don’t know they’re rating you badly… you’ll be surprised how many passengers (White, Black, Asians, Hispanics etc…) think that 4 stars ratings are very good. Having said that, you’ll have to tell/explain how the Uber rating system works and that 4 star ratings are not actually good because Uber drop drivers below 4.6 average, and you’ll notice the difference. Next, Uber passengers just don’t tip, let’s not stereotype it to black passengers, it’s Uber to blame, they let all passengers believe that tips are already included when they say “tips are not required” . I have had many Uber riders from every race, and they just don’t tip. When I drive for Lyft, it’s different, I receive tips from the app and passengers hand me tips from time to time. This article was based on a research that they conducted about drivers not picking up black riders/or people with black sounding names. What you experience personally doesn’t make it automatically “facts”… Next time, educate your riders about the rating system and you’ll watch your ratings start going up. Although, the research didn’t include the reverse discrimination you stated, but I did mention it, not to the depth you’d like but I did acknowledge it. By no means, I deny the the racism against white drivers/passengers, but it’s probably at minimal and that doesn’t make it right. But, in your case, if maybe you communicate with your black passengers about the ratings you’d probably see much improvement from this community. Had Uber integrate a “tipping feature” in the app, drivers would be better off… remember, a lot of people don’t carry cash nowadays, I don’t care what color/race, people just don’t carry cash as much anymore…

      • Mark

        I agree what your telling Scott. I’ve been driving on and off for UBER since September 2016. I don’t care who I pick up black or white. I just want my guests to have the best experience they get. I wish TIPS were better but oh well. I feel UBER pays us drivers to cheap. for example, I took a rider from TAMPA to LAKELAND,FL . drove 41 miles one-way
        and got paid $29.90 after UBER took their 25 %.. then I had to deadhead 41 miles back to TAMPA. I was not happy at all. that’ll be the only time I will cancel a ride.my name is Mark

        • @Mark, I used to Uber in Tampa area, but after they drop the price to 65 cents a mile (80 cents now), I decided to Uber in Sarasota/Bradenton area (which is 95 cents/mile), but it’s slow, sometimes it’s not that bad. I understand your frustration, Uber need to do something about it raising the price… Thanks for stopping by…

  • Shanka lanka

    I think Uber should stop this rating thing because no matter how good you’re, the riders end up not rating you at all. If someone took you to your destination safe, return a favor and give the driver a five rating. I have picked up people that wanted me to stop in between trips so they can take care of other errands, then expecting me to wait for them, out of my kindness, I do it and still rider never rates me a 5 no matter how safe I drive them to their destination. I think most black riders are the worst, and always never wanna rate especially when they see that I’m an African.

    • Bart

      Anecdote time. Three things tend to predict when a rider is going to suck (in declining importance): Pool, Woman, Black

      Pool riders are some of the pettiest most ungrateful, entitled twats out there. Not only is Uber already a steal for what is a borderline limo service, but Pool is even cheaper. You’d think this would make them happy and grateful. It doesn’t. My pool riders are all too often either bitchy or just act like they’re better than me. Pool riders also tend to show up on time less often than X riders and try to get away with asking for more.

      Women. Out of all the worst riders I’ve ever had, the top 10 have all been women, including the worst experience I ever had. Well, she was such an inflamed cunt that I’m surprised her name wasn’t Chlamydia. Women are also harsher raters than men, generally. And if someone’s going to gripe about your driving, it’s going to be a woman. If a passenger is going to traet you like an emotional punching bag, it’s going to be a woman. If someone’s going to make an unreasonable demand, like you drive the last 10 feet to them, or u-turn in a busy city street to get them, it’s going to be a woman.

      Black*. NOTE: This applies to particular subset of black; >90% of my black passengers do not get this distinction. It’s usually the ones with “black” names, names which some likely teenage barely uneducated girl thought sounded cool. Essentially, rachet names like Laquiesha, Tyreeshus, Dareal, L’fawnda, Kajuan, and so on. Black people with these names are far more likely to be trouble, especially if they’re female, but ESPECIALLY if they’re Pool. It’s like as schoolteachers say, that kids with “unique” names tend to be trouble. Now, Black people with names like Jamal, Samuel, Mohammad, Kwabena, Adam, Marco, Nadia, Khadija, Penelope, and so on tend to be perfectly fine. I have also noticed that most of the racial abuse I have received has been from black people. It’s the strangest thing; I’m visibly Muslim, but I get the most crap for being white. I’ve only once been harassed by a white customer, who did call me a traitor to the white race whom Trump will rightly deport to the Middle East to be hopefully blown up by an IED.

      Lastly, yeah, most passengers just don’t rate. I wonder why. Please, give up those 5 star ratings — we NEED those to stay employed.

      • Sounds like you’re having a hard time… hope things get better for you… Be safe out there…

  • Shanka lanka

    Please Uber CEO if you’re reading this, stop the rating from the Uber riders that you against your own drivers without listening to both sides of the story. Most riders put a different location to be picked up than the one in the Uber app, then they get mad and give the driver a poor rating. Most Uber riders are either on medication no matter how good you’re, they are never give a five rating…I prefer pickingup whites or Asians because my own people are very discriminative as soon as they bar my accent, they wanna bring my rating down.

    • @Shanka Lanka, a little education will go a long way… educate them about the rating system. They probably think that giving you a 4 star rating is good.

      • Bart

        4/5 represents an 80% — that’s a B on a grading scale. Only Uber could say that anything less than 5/5 is a fail. What is this, the special forces?