Two months after a report found African-American passengers were subject to bias on ride-hailing platforms, Uber and Lyft say they are taking steps to address those concerns.Pressed by a U.S. senator to explain how they prevent their drivers from discriminating against minority passengers, both ride-hailing companies said they have strong anti-bias policies in place — which they recently reiterated to drivers — and promised to look into doing more.
While no single technology can eliminate bias in society, we always strive toward a better experience for all of our customers, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in a letter to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota.
In light of that goal, and the survey s findings, we are committed to examining any root issues and possible product mitigations.
The news highlights a tricky issue faced by sharing-economy companies, which try to prevent racism on their platforms without taking full responsibility for their users actions.
Airbnb earlier this year unveiled new anti-discrimination measures after an outpouring of complaints from guests who said they were denied a place to stay based on their race or gender identity.Franken wrote letters to Uber and Lyft in early November after a study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found African-American passengers in Seattle and Boston waited longer to get rides using the apps, and were more likely to have their trips canceled.
The senator asked the ride-hailing companies to explain how they would address these issues, requesting answers no later than Dec. 16.