More cancellations for LGBTIQ rideshare app users, study finds

Uber Driver taxi rideshare discrimination
Photo: Adobe Stock

A US study has found that Uber and other rideshare app users who appear LGBTIQ are cancelled on by drivers more frequently than other passengers.

The researchers looked at bias faced by people of colour on such apps. Previous studies suggest this includes longer wait times and more frequent cancellations.

After previous studies, some apps have removed some of the race and gender information from the view of prospective drivers.

But a new study by American University assistant professor Chris Parker and co-author Jorge Meija found that bias still remains, NBC News reported.

To conduct the research, they created different rideshare profiles, featuring a range of black and white men and women.

Parker and Meija also added a rainbow filter to some of the profiles. This was to denote the user was LGBTIQ-identifying or supported the LGBTIQ community.

For two months, the researches used the profiles to request rides on Uber and a variety of other ridesharing apps. They would wait three minutes to see if the driver accepted or declined the ride.

The researchers called for 3,200 rides during both peak and non-peak hours of the day.

They found the drivers were three times more likely to cancel the rides of both black men and women than their white peers.

But they also discovered the LGBTIQ profiles were nearly twice likely to have their rides cancelled.

“We know LGBTQ riders face discrimination with these rideshare apps,” Parker told NBC News.

“[But even just] signalling your support for the LGBTQ community with a rainbow filter resulted in passengers nearly doubling their chance of their ride being cancelled.”

Uber drivers in the headlines after LGBTIQ discrimination

Three weeks ago, an Uber driver was banned after kicking a lesbian couple out of her car saying she “didn’t believe in that”.

Uber later blocked the driver from the ridesharing app. Uber said in a statement the company “does not tolerate discrimination in any form.”

In March, a gay Sydney man claimed he and a friend were kicked out of an Uber because of their sexuality, just a day after the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

Last April, a Brisbane Uber driver was fined $300 after he asked a lesbian passenger inappropriate questions about her sex life.

But LGBTIQ rideshare drivers have faced bias and discrimination as well.

This month, a drunk passenger attacked a transgender Lyft driver due to her gender identity, causing her to quit.

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