Did you know that some Uber drivers are pushed to go into the ride-hailing business not just to make money and earn a living, but also to sexually harass their female riders?
This is bad news for the giant ridesharing company, and it leaves other serious drivers with clean records in a big credibility crisis.
How often do Uber drivers engage in sexual assaults and how do Uber and courts respond to this?
"Uber is being sued by a woman alleging sexual assault by its drivers."
"An Uber driver raped a 25-years-old woman in San Francisco."
"Another Uber driver is sentenced for molesting a female rider."
Such headlines are not only common; they are never-ending. Some Uber driver-partners, while they suppose to shuttle their riders safely to their destination and get paid, end up assaulting their passengers. From making strong, horrifying sexual advances to groping to raping, Uber drivers have put the company they work for in shame and shattered its credibility.
Of course, the company fires any driver who caught in such a mess. However, the growing number of drivers whose cases have gone to the public ears terrify many female riders from ever using the ridesharing company. "From February 2015 and February 2016, there were 32 claims made against [Uber] drivers in London," reports Daily Mail. "In the past 12 months to February 2017, that figure shot up to 48 alleged attacks."
This sentencing was just one of these Uber's sex stories.
John David Sanchez was the man who was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Used to be an Uber driver-partner, the 52-years-old Sanchez have the habit of raping women—and sometimes—even girls after drugging them with hard substances and alcohol.
His final days were February 25, when he picked a female rider from North Park to El Cajon at around 2 a.m. As he usually does, he managed to intoxicate his passenger, and then, as she was stupefied, packed his car (2012 Scion XB) and started caressing her legs, according to the court document.
Aside from this particular crime, Sanchez pleaded guilty for other capital crimes as well: Lewd acts on an under 14-years-old child, preventing a witness from reporting a crime, and employment of a minor to perform prohibited acts.
So, finally, the judge sentenced him to 80 years and 4 months behind bars—a fitting judgment for a criminal driver. Unfortunately, Sanchez's story is just one in a million other stories involving an Uber driver in a sexual assault incident.
The million-dollar question is, why do Uber drivers often involve in sexual acts?
Several theories attempt to answer this question.
First, there's the "criminals behind the wheels" theory. Some people believed that most Uber drivers are criminals. It's, therefore, easy for a criminal to victimize their female rider when they shuttle them—alone—in their car at night, early in the morning, or at any giving opportunity.
And there's the "Uber driver exploitation" theory. Proponents of this theory believe that Uber drivers are under pressure to do more and earn more, as the company charges higher prices to the detriment of the drivers, who only make $20 or less per an hour.
In this regards, some Uber drivers hire the car they work in order to make some extra income to cover their bills. Nobody knows the people that are hiring these cars. They might just be felons with criminal records. "Uber drivers often hire the car they work in and have to make £350 to £400 a week before they have earned a penny," says Mr. McNamara, citing an example from the London experience. "Earning £6 or £7 an hour, they have to work four or five days to cover their higher costs, petrol and insurance, so many will go to someone they know and say: 'You take the car around when I'm not using it.'"
The company has repeatedly denied all of these, stating—time after time—that: Cases of sexual crimes by its drivers are rare and that its pricing structure is standard. "While complaints of this nature are incredibly rare if a driver is found to have allowed a third party to use their app they are immediately stopped from using Uber and reported to the regulator as this is a serious offense which would see them lose their license and livelihood," an Uber spokesman said.
But all these are not enough. Perhaps, the new Uber's Premium Support hotline will curtail this heinous crime?
Time will tell.