Your paper recently published an op-ed by the president of the New Jersey Taxi Cab Association regarding Uber in the Garden State. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to misrepresent the facts. We would like to correct the inaccuracies in that piece and respond with the following points:
On Uber in New Jersey:
Today, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents choose Uber because the status quo has not been able to meet their needs and provide an easy way to get from point A to B. At the same time, more than 12,000 New Jerseyeans are using Uber to earn money on their own schedule, taking advantage of a flexible work opportunity that provides on-demand supplementary income.
On background checks & safety:
Before ever gaining access to our platform, every potential driver must pass a comprehensive background check process conducted through a third-party, nationally accredited background check provider. This process includes county, multi-state and federal database checks and a social security trace, as well as checks against the national sex offender registry and motor vehicle record reports, among others. In contrast, the background checks conducted on New Jersey cab drivers rely upon the Livescan database of fingerprints and arrest records - which have often been found to be incomplete as they rely upon local authorities to voluntarily submit arrest data to the FBI, without any sort of regular reporting requirements. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has challenged the belief that Livescan is "the gold standard" of criminal background checks, and the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP has also raised the issue that relying solely upon arrest records has a disparate impact on individuals in minority communities, who are disproportionately arrested for but never charged with any crimes.
While background checks certainly represent an important piece of the safety puzzle, our technology also helps keep riders safe before, during and after their ride in ways that others cannot. Before your Uber arrives, you are provided with the picture and license plate number of your driver. During a ride, you can share your ETA and location with friends or loved ones so they always know where you are in real-time. And after a ride, we offer 100% accountability because every rider receives an email receipt that includes detailed trip information should it ever need to be revisited.
Every single Uber trip is New Jersey is covered by Uber’s $1.5 million primary commercial insurance policy, so that riders and the public at large are always protected. This $1.5 million policy is 42 times greater than the minimum coverage requirements for taxis in New Jersey because we believe that a higher standard must be in place.
Ana Mahony is General Manager for Uber New Jersey.