Some of the problems that littered the traditional economy of ride-hailing services were supposed to be solved by the new age of technology through the use of smartphones. While traditional cab and taxi services have long endured accusations of racism and discrimination, the new age of Uber and Lyft - rival ride-sharing services, were supposed to solve. Even after garnering multi-billion-dollar valuations, their reputation is at stake for solving the problem of discrimination.
In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, passengers in Seattle, WA and Boston, MA that could be identified as African American are subjected to discrimination by some Uber and Lyft drivers. The study was conducted to hail nearly 1500 rides on controlled routes and recorded key performance metrics. In Seattle African American passengers endured longer waiting times - as much as 35 percent increase. In Boston, the study found Uber drivers were more frequently cancelling rides against passengers using African American-sounding names. The study also found many other factors which would be a result of discrimination. They conclusion - "We theorize that at least some drivers for both UberX and Lyft discriminate on the basis of the perceived race of the traveler."
While both Uber and Lyft both had spokespeople do damage control and announce their policy on not tolerating any form of racism or discrimination and how their services have been a positive impact in "communities of color," but the facts such as "drivers are more than four times as likely to cancel on an African-American male passenger than on a white male passenger," are not helping their cause. Unless these companies solve their issue, they may be headed in the same direction of cabs and taxis.