Maskless Uber Passengers Assault Uber Driver – And Are Banned For It

In the news this week, we’ve seen a lot about one assault on an Uber driver and the repercussions of that as well as Uber attempting to bring Prop 22-style changes to other markets and so much more. Today, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins goes over these stories and provides her take on each.

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Maskless Uber Passengers Assault, Cough On, Pepper Spray Driver After He Refuses Them Service [CBS Local]

Summary: An Uber driver in San Francisco was assaulted and coughed-upon by a woman riding with two other women after he refused them service for not wearing masks, in an attack the driver captured on video.

San Francisco police also said one of the women sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray into the vehicle and toward the driver after leaving the vehicle. The incident happened Sunday at about 12:45 p.m. at San Bruno Ave. and Silver Ave….

My Take: This has been an ongoing story this week, with updates throughout. I am happy to say that the passengers are banned now not just from Uber but also from Lyft. And best yet, arrested or at least expected to turn themselves in.

I am glad that both platforms have taken the measures to ban the passenger and that one passenger has been arrested for the assault while another is expected to turn herself in. It seems far too often we see things like this and nothing ever comes from it. Or, worse yet, the driver is banned from the platform instead of the other way around.

When we shared the original news story on Facebook, here are some of the responses we got from our readers:

Mark S. said:

“It’s easy to sit here and say what I would have done in that moment, but I think the right response would have been to

1. Pull over to the shoulder or parking lot.

2. Turn off the car and get out.

3. Open the back door and TELL them to get out and that you’re dialing 911

4. Report everything that happened and ask for a police officer, so you can file charges.

5. Don’t end the Uber ride UNTIL they are out of the car and too far away to cause damage to the car.”

Kaye G. feels like this driver is “working the system” by getting $1,000 from Uber for lost wages and has gained $65,000 on a Go-Fund-Me campaign. She felt that “part of the problem was caused by the driver not handling the situation properly.”

Personally, I feel like assaults like these should be taken seriously. Well, all assaults for that matter. If something like that happened to me, I would have been shaken up about it and not felt safe to drive for a few days, so I feel like lost wages is an acceptable ask in this situation.

Uber Is Expanding Its War on Labor to Canada With a Prop 22 Clone [Vice]

Summary: In a new proposal announced Wednesday, the company is proposing provincial Canadian governments deny gig workers employee classification in exchange for a paltry benefits fund.

Uber has launched the next front of its war on labor laws and traditional employment, this time in Canada.

On Wednesday, Uber published its pitch to provincial governments to implement a clone of Proposition 22, the self-written California ballot measure that preserved the misclassification scheme at the heart of Uber’s business model….

My Take: We saw Prop 22 pass in California. Then we saw Uber take the idea overseas to Europe. Now, they are doing the same with Canada. Will they stop at nothing to ensure their drivers are not considered employees? That’s really all this is. They keep trying to redefine what kind of worker people are so they can do what they want as a business. Let’s tailor everything to Uber’s whim. We’ll keep an eye on this, along with all the others.

Uber, Lyft agree to share information on banned drivers in safety push [Auto News]

Summary: Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. on Thursday said they would share with each other information on drivers and delivery workers they had banned from their platforms for the most serious incidents in an effort to boost safety.

The companies said such incidents would be physical assault resulting in a fatality and the most serious forms of sexual assault, adding they hoped to eventually share such data across the wider transportation and delivery industry.

The move comes more than a year after Uber released its first safety report, detailing about 6,000 reports of sexual assault related to 2.3 billion trips in the United States in 2017 and 2018….

My Take: This is information that Uber and Lyft will be sharing with each other. That way dangerous drivers will not be able to drive on both platforms. This would include drivers who physically assaulted resulting in a fatality, and “the most serious forms” of sexual assault.

Overall, this could be a good thing. But I’m sure drivers would like them to do the same for banned passengers. I can only imagine how horrible it would be to have a horrible passenger on one app and then two days later get them in the other because they were only banned from one.

Uber Eats is struggling to keep a leader at the helm as exits mount in the aftermath of Postmates acquisition and layoffs [Business Insider]

Summary: Stephane Ficaja, head of Uber Eats US and Canada, exits after six months on the job. Sarfraz Maredia, from Uber’s ride-hailing division, becomes the third person to lead Uber Eats since summer. Uber Eats is now bringing in more revenue than Uber’s rides division.

In a December 1, 2020 blog post, Stephane Ficaja, head of Uber Eats US and Canada, gave a hopeful message about the future of food delivery as Uber closed its purchase of third-party delivery rival, Postmates.

With Uber’s food delivery division, Uber Eats, combining with Postmates, the two operators can move forward and come “together as one company,” wrote Ficaja, who took over the Uber Eats position after Janelle Sallenave left in late August.

Less than three months later, the partnership between Postmates and Uber Eats has turned rocky….

My Take: This just shows me that there’s disorganization within Uber. They didn’t know how to fully integrate the changes and are expecting the world of everyone who has taken up higher positions within the company.

Instability like this was bound to happen when trying to merge two companies that were doing their own thing successfully apart. I’m sure there will be more turnaround in the coming months and years as they determine if this acquisition was a worthwhile investment.

Drivers, how would you have handled the assault? Do you think the driver did the right thing or should he have tried harder to deescalate the situation?

-Paula @ RSG