Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Your Name May Influence How Long You Wait for an Uber or Lyft, MIT Study Finds

A recent study has found "significant evidence of racial discrimination" in ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. If you’re black, you may be more likely to find your ride canceled or be subjected to longer wait times.

Another cancelled trip. (Photo Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)


A recent study has found "significant evidence of racial discrimination" in ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. If you’re black, you may be more likely to find your Uber ride canceled or be subjected to 30% longer wait times on both services.

The study by MIT looked at over 1,400 cases in Seattle and Boston where they found users with "African American sounding names" were more likely to face discrimination compared to those with more “white sounding” names. Users who looked black, also faced discrimination.

In order to understand how to get rid of discrimination, it’s important to understand how these apps work. When a person “hails” a ride from the Uber or Lyft app, the driver learns your name and what you look like at different stages. For Uber drivers, they learn this information only after accepting your request, which means they have to cancel the ride if they want to pass on a fare. On Lyft, drivers can see a user’s name and face before accepting a request.

With Uber, researchers found African Americans faced higher cancellations rates than on Lyft. But it’s uncertain if the difference in when a potential passenger’s name and photo were revealed to a driver had an influence.

Both Uber and Lyft have chimed in on the study, saying they do not condone racial discrimination.

Rachel Holt, head of North American operations for Uber, said in a statement: "Discrimination has no place in society, and no place on Uber.”

"We believe Uber is helping reduce transportation inequities across the board, but studies like this one are helpful in thinking about how we can do even more."

It's been thought that Uber and Lyft could be the solution to traditional cabs, but it seems there's still a ways to go. Uber has eliminated other biases based on destination by not revealing this information to its drivers. A potential solution to this issue might be best to nix names and photos altogether on rider accounts.

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less

Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth

A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.

Cylindrical space colony.

Credit: NASA Ames Research Center.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
  • Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
  • This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
Keep reading Show less

Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast