Uber, Lyft respond to Senator Al Franken’s concerns about racial discrimination

Uber, Lyft respond to Senator Al Franken’s concerns about racial discrimination

On Wednesday, Senator Al Franken released the letters received from ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, in response to his November open letter in which he had asked the two companies to address racism on their platforms.

Senator Franken’s open letter, published on November 2, 2016, was addressed to Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick and Lyft CEO Logan Green. The letter essentially drew attention to the fact that a study released earlier this year had documented the racial discrimination faced by ride-hailing passengers.

The two-year study, carried out by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has found that Uber and Lyft passengers who have ‘Black-sounding’ names have to wait longer for the approval of their trip requests as compared to passengers with ‘White-sounding’ names.

In response to Senator Franken’s concerns about the apparent racial discrimination being faced by ride-hailing passengers, Lyft said that it will put in place a new mechanism under which driver cancellation and quality of service will be tracked for drivers in poor, minority communities.

Meanwhile, Uber CEO Kalanick said in a response letter to Senator Franken that Uber’s system does not show the surnames or photos of the riders to the drivers; it only shows their first names.

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