In a letter Blumenthal wrote to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, he said he was “alarmed by Uber’s public statements about this issue, which indicate a brazenly careless attitude about your responsibility to your customers.” He cited Uber executive Tracey Breeden, global head of women’s safety, who said in an interview with The Post that the company is “not judge and jury to determine whether a crime has occurred.”
Blumenthal sent a separate letter to Lyft CEO Logan Green, in which he criticized Lyft’s “‘labyrinthine’ complaint procedures and an inadequate response to complaints.” A Post investigation, published last month, described how Lyft’s response to allegations of sexual harassment failed victims.
He called on Uber to release a transparency report about the prevalence of sexual misconduct that occurs in Uber rides, which it has been promising to do since May 2018. Uber has said it will release the report by year’s end.
Uber did not respond to a request for comment on Blumenthal‘s letter.
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, which is why since Day 1 we have worked hard to design policies and features that protect riders and drivers,” said Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin. “We are eager to engage with Senator Blumenthal and other policymakers to increase awareness and understanding of Lyft’s ongoing safety efforts.”
Blumenthal also chided Uber for its policies forbidding investigators from referring allegations to police and to inform competitors or background check firms when it blocks drivers from using the app, even in matters of sexual misconduct, as The Post reported. Uber said the policy is meant to be “survivor-centric.”
He asked Uber and Lyft to commit to fingerprint background checks of drivers and to further explain their processes for investigating allegations of potential crimes that occur during rides.
The Post’s reporting indicates that Uber coaches investigators to act to help limit Uber’s liability regarding when serious allegations are filed. It has a three-strikes system that allows bad actors to remain on the road, said investigators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being reprimanded by Uber. The company said there is no strikes policy, but that it looks for “patterns.”
Uber and Lyft also do not have a means for sharing data about bad actors on their platforms, meaning drivers who have in some cases confessed to misconduct can end up simply driving for another ride-sharing app, The Post reported. Uber said it should be up to victims to tell their stories.