As your institution prepares for students and faculty to
return to classes, please ensure that all responsible for campus safety are
aware of the dangers associated with ride share companies, specifically Uber
Known as Unregulated Transportation Network Companies, these
mobile app operators recently entered New Haven and Fairfield County through
crowd-sourcing social media promotions. Based out-of-state and abroad, they connect
riders with unverified drivers-for-hire through a mobile app. Then, random
drivers shuttle passengers with their own vehicle, which is not
safety-inspected or insured for commercial use.
Of great concern is that these companies are targeting unsuspecting
students and luring them with free rides and promotional gifts or the ability
to make money as drivers. In response to the public safety threat that ride
share services pose, City of New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, along with Greater New
Haven Chamber of Commerce President Tony Rescigno and Director of New Haven’s
Department for Persons with Disabilities Michelle Duprey, Esq., wrote this New Haven Register Op-Ed http://bit.ly/PublicSafety101. In “Innovation
Should Never Be at Expense of Public Safety,” our community leaders describe
how Uber and Lyft ignore all CT
transportation and insurance regulations that protect the public’s safety and
provide equal transportation access.
Please make sure that your Student Affairs, Residential
Services, Security and Campus Transportation, and Communications representatives
are made aware of these public safety concerns:
Uber and Lyft prey on college and university towns, and through popular Social
Media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, woo students with free rides and/or
solicit them to be drivers-for-hire.
College affiliates driving for Uber or Lyft use their own vehicles, which
according to CT Statute (Section 13b-101), are not insured for commercial use.
The statute defines a livery vehicle as “every
motor vehicle used by any person, association, limited liability company or
corporation which represents itself to be in the business of transporting
passengers for hire.” In May, Connecticut’s Insurance Department joined
government insurance officials in one-third of the country by issuing this
consumer advisory about the dangerous lack of liability coverage .
Background Checks/No Training: Uber and Lyft drivers do not have commercial
insurance and have not undergone governmental background checks. See NBC News’
Investigative Report, “Risky Rides” http://bit.ly/1rSEpoe.
Elsewhere in the nation, their avoidance of important regulatory safety checks
has resulted in the tragic death of a six-year-old, felonies, DUIs, drug
trafficking, harassment and other crimes. One need only do a quick Google
search to see the long list of active sexual assault investigations under way
linked to Uber and Lyft. A recent sting
operation in California found ride share drivers who did not even have driver’s
licenses. Just weeks ago, an unsuspecting
passenger in D.C. was kidnapped by an Uber driver trying to dodge police and was
subjected to a high-speed chase across state lines . Connecticut’s taxi and livery companies are
required to use drivers who have gone through governmental nationwide
fingerprint record checks.
Incompliance: Uber and
Lyft flagrantly flout the Americans with Disabilities Act by shutting out those
with mobility disabilities. They also discriminate against the elderly,
low-income citizens who cannot afford a Smart Phone or do not possess a credit
card. This summer, Consumer Affairs reported on a lawsuit filed against Uber and Lyft asserting
that they “illegally deny access to disabled consumers,” and for providing ride
share drivers with “no training about the ADA.” http://bit.ly/1jQS6jN
Gouging: While Connecticut’s DOT
requires taxis to charge by distance and time to ensure fair pricing, Uber and
Lyft set their own rates and use “surge-pricing,” excessively charging
passengers during high-demand times such as national holidays, extreme weather
conditions, emergencies and even rush-hour.
Customer Care: These companies do not accept calls for passenger complaints
or lost-and-found. Additionally, they do
not accept cash and there’s no recourse for refunds. Their service is
technologically-oriented, not consumer-friendly.
In the best interest of your community’s security, please
share this public safety alert widely. The Transportation Industry has created a
helpful educational website to inform the public about the far-reaching dangers
associated with ride sharing companies: http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/