Albert Boakye pictured below is a Lyft driver that attacked a Country Singer by the name of Clare Dunn when she decided to take a Lyft home in Nashville a couple of months ago. This driver has since been arrested (I am not going to even get into why it took two months for him to be arrested) and Lyft has since deactivated him.
End of story right?
No. If you talk to the majority of Uber and Lyft drivers, we will tell you that we drive for both companies. There are some who don’t. They may say, “Uber (or Lyft) doesn’t pay (plot twist, they both pay the same) well, etc. etc. What they won’t tell you is that one company deactivated them for one reason or another.
In the case of Nashville v. Albert – Lyft deactivated him. Have we heard from Uber? No.
Don’t get me wrong, because this is a national story, it is likely (and hopeful) that Uber decided to deactivate him as well, but what happens to drivers with less of a profile?
Both Uber and Lyft claim to do background checks every year on their drivers, which is true. The problem with a background check is that you won’t see that this driver is bad until it is filed in the system. In this case, it took two months for the police to obtain a warrant for his arrest. If Albert had his yearly background check within that two months with Uber. Guess what? Uber won’t catch that he has been arrested for another year.
Now, if Uber and Lyft decided to put a system into place that they both actively uploaded and maintained reasons for driver deactivations, Uber will find out why away that he is accused of assaulting a rider. Yes, you are innocent until proven guilty, but if there is a police report that is used to eventually get a warrant out for your arrest, theoretically that should be enough of a red flag. Yes, the justice system isn’t perfect. Criminals often get off because of simple admin mistakes, and yes there are innocent people in jail but it should be okay for Uber and Lyft to decide that is not a risk worth taking. If he assaulted one rider, chances are he is going to assault another one. After all, there is an abundance of drivers. Should they deactivate a driver because of a complaint from a rider without a police report? Temporarily perhaps, but if the rider goes out of their way to obtain a police report, chances are it is a legitimate complaint.
Yes, Uber and Lyft should take the same system for drivers and throw riders in that pile as well. We are not invincible and shit does happen to drivers more often than you think.
How would they go about creating this system? I don’t know, but I also pay them more than enough in service fees for them to figure it out but having someone designated as a liaison for Uber and another for Lyft seems like a good start.