The San Francisco based online transportation network, Uber was started in 2009. The founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick wanted to include technology into the transportation industry and they launched the new mobile app that allows the riders to book their own ride.The company launched its service in the United States and later ventured into the global market by setting up its service in most of the countries around the globe. According to the report released on August 2016, the company has its service in sixty six countries and in five hundred and seven cities and values sixty eight billion dollars.
Legal actions and protests
The ride-sharing giant has faced many legal disputes and protests in many countries and the taxi industry is against the ride-sharing service. They have faced opposition from the governments, drivers, taxi companies and other authorities regarding their service operation. The main complaint from the taxi industry that the company has license issues and that they do not pay the regulation as they pay, apart from this they even have complaints regarding the Uber drivers that they harass the passengers and have criminal records.
The drivers from Uber also filed lawsuits against the company and stated that they have not gained any remedies or rights like the others working in the industry. According to the reports of 2015, the company faced protests in many countries like England, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India and China. The ride-sharing company was banned in two cities in India and it was also banned in Spain and in June 2015, the company’s Executives were arrested by the Police department in France. The company still faces several problems related to the regulation and are fighting against the government bodies in Australia, Brazil and in the United States.
However, the government authorities and the officials are unable to control the operations of the ride-sharing company as the service is operated over the net so it is easy for them to win in the jurisdiction. Even the journalists those who criticize the ride-sharing company are bullied and treated very badly by the investigators. In South Wales, Australia the government enforced a taskforce to check on the Uber disputes stating that the company is unable to enforce the regulation. On reviewing the issue, the taskforce noted that the company meets all the requirements the transportation service, according to the Act of 1990, and in addition to that the drivers should pay service tax called the GST to the local government. But the company reaffirmed that it should not operate under the taxi regulation since it is not a taxi service.
Fake drivers in Uber ride
When the rider books a ride they are notified with the driver details, including their photo, so that they can easily identify the person who will drive them. A passenger recently complained that the driver who drove the car looks different from the photo that appeared on the app, when investigated the police found that the owner of the car shares his vehicle with his fellows under the same name. Thus, both the drivers are able to earn money by switching the vehicle according to the convenience. But this act might not always retrieve positive results. The drivers who have registered under the ride-sharing company undergo various verification process like security checkup, photo id proof, fingerprint verification, background checks to identify criminal records and others, but the other person who rides the vehicle is not a registered user and the company does not have any kind of information about the other person and they are also not aware that such person rides their customers. So if any issue is caused by the driver to the passenger, the company undergoes security issues while the passenger has a bad experience.
The main reason behind the fake driver concept is that the company is offering the drivers many subsidies and incentives for a trip. To avoid this condition further, the company in April introduced a tool that is called the Real time ID check tool that sends the drivers a notification that they have to occasionally send their photos to the officials to verify whether their photo matches with the photo in the official Uber record. This ensures that only one person can access one Uber account and this face recognition tool is tested in China.
Drivers have to occasionally send selfie
The ride-sharing company is using the Cognitive Services of the Microsoft in the United States to help in matching the driver’s on-record photo with the real time selfies because it prevents the drivers from faking their identification and at the same time it protects the Uber account of the driver. It also creates trust among the riders that they are ferried by the registered Uber driver. Apart from creating rider’s accountability, the ride-sharing company is trying to prevent the drivers from getting into fraudulent activities because often the drivers share their accounts with their friends those who have not undergone any verification process.
There are no official reports on how often the drivers will be asked to send their selfies to the company, however if the photo sent by the driver does not match with the photo on the record, the Uber account will be temporarily blocked by the company until they manually verify the person and their record. Joe Sullivan is the Security Chief of the ride-sharing company said in a blogpost that they are trying different ways and means to protect the authenticity of the drivers and reduce the risks faced by the riders. He said that there were several mismatch profile pictures between the record and the one sent by the driver and they were able to identify this only from their beta testing program called the Real time ID check tool. With this tool the online ride-sharing company verified ninety nine percent of the Uber drivers and the process of verifying the accounts is more efficient and takes only few seconds. This tool makes the Uber app more efficient with the proactive features.
Since the online transportation network has faced many criticisms, the company has taken several measures to build its safety initiatives. The company in June announced that they will release the daily report of the driver’s activities and they said that they will introduce reminders and speed displays, so that the drivers can take breaks at regular intervals. Earlier the ride-sharing giant introduced the fingerprint verification and background check as a part of their verification process, so any one who has a criminal record are easily identified by comparing their fingerprint on the record with the database that is handled by the police department. They also partner with the Checkr to verify the background details of the drivers, Checkr is a National Association of Professional Background screeners.
By following the safety initiative, the car hailing company is trying to wipe out the bad image that has been created for the company. The company even faces regulatory issues and disputes in many countries and they have even suspended their operation in some of the cities across the globe. The company has its business in sixty six countries in five hundred and seven cities in the world and values sixty eight billion dollars.