Nationwide — A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, Massachussetts, has revealed some very disturbing information about how African American passengers are being treated by transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.
They sent passengers in Seattle, WA and Boston, MA to hail nearly 1,500 rides on controlled routes and recorded key performance metrics. Sadly, the results indicated a pattern of discrimination, which they observed in Seattle through longer waiting times for African American passengers – as much as a 35 percent increase.
In Boston, they observed discrimination by Uber drivers via more frequent cancellations against passengers when they used African American-sounding names.
Even worse, across all trips, the cancellation rate for African American sounding names was more than twice as frequent compared to white sounding names. Male passengers requesting a ride in low-density areas were more than three times as likely to have their trip canceled when they used a African American-sounding name than when they used a white-sounding name.
They also found evidence that drivers took female passengers of all ethnicities for longer, more expensive, rides in Boston.
The study concluded that removing names from trip booking may alleviate the immediate problem, but could introduce other pathways for unequal treatment of passengers.
About the National Bureau of Eonomic Research (NBER)
Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals.
For more details about the study, visit www.nber.org/papers/w22776
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