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Uber describes 2-hour kidnapping as ‘inefficient route’
Talk about tone-deaf.
An Uber driver kidnapped his passenger for more than two hours, driving her to an empty parking lot and only releasing her when she screamed, Valleywag reports—and Uber’s response has been to label the episode as an “inefficient route.”
A Los Angeles resident told the tech blog that she ordered a taxi after a night out using the company’s UberX service. The driver then took her on a two-hour, 20-mile “nightmare abduction” to a parking lot, locked the doors, and took her home “when she caused a commotion and screamed.”
Uber has received flack for improper driver behaviour many, many times—whether that’s homophobic abuse, sexual assault, police chases, hammer attacks, or stalking—and throughout the company has steadfastly insisted that as a platform connecting independent contractor drivers and their customers, “it’s not our job to investigate,” and that they suspend drivers when they’re flagged up.
With a service as large as Uber, there are always going to be offenders that slip through the cracks. What’s worrying about the recent kidnapping reported by Valleywag is how laissez-faire the company’s attitude is when these incidents do occur.
After the victim got home, she reported the driver to Uber, who’s only response was to issue an automatic email apologizing for the “inefficient route,” and reimbursing the fare—as evidenced in screenshots.
At no point was the criminal act that had just taken place acknowledged, or the passenger’s welfare enquired into. The LAPD are now investigating, and Valleywag reports that the passenger has been forced to stay in a hotel, too afraid to return home because her kidnapper “has [her] home address.”
Uber did not respond to Valleywag’s requests for comment. The Daily Dot has also reached out, and will update if we receive a response.
Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.