Uber Missed Criminal Records of Drivers, Prosecutors Assert

Uber Missed Criminal Records of Drivers, Prosecutors Assert

District attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco say drivers for the ride-hailing service have included some convicted of murder or sex offenses.

SAN FRANCISCO - For more than a year, regulators in various cities have questioned whether Uber, the ride-hailing service, vets its drivers for criminal backgrounds as carefully as traditional taxi companies.

Now the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles have offered perhaps the most concrete evidence to date that people convicted of murder, sex offenses and various property crimes have driven for Uber, despite assurances from the company that it employs "industry-leading" screening.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

I've always been fascinated by the way technology changes things.

Uber in driving inefficiencies out of the hackney carriage trade in the same way that airline ticketing companies have driven travel agents out of business. Cab drivers of old had to spend gas driving around hoping for fares, or depend on a dispatch service might or might not give them high-value fares if they were on good terms with the dispatcher.

But, the smartphone is not a good judge of character. Uber, seeking to run a virtual corporation which involves little investment and forces all its costs on its employees, is living in the margin between the metered rates of taxicabs and the cost riders are willing to pay to drive themselves or take public transit. That margin, built as much on customer ignorance as it is on smartphone technology, is now being reduced by the old-line players, whom are pointing out that words and reality don't always match in the online business world.

Bill Horne Moderator

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Monty Solomon
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