Southern Dallas Leaders Say Uber is Profiling Customers, and They Want City Hall to Act

Categories: Transportation

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Uber
Uber, thanks in no small part to Dallas' reactionary, lobbyist-led crackdown, has been getting a lot of love in recent weeks. Uber's convenient, fast, chic, and fits nicely into the role of a dashingly handsome David taking on Yellow Cab's Goliath.

If this Uber love has geographic center, it's in somewhere north of I-30, in a neighborhood flush with young professionals with disposable income. South of the interstate, on the other hand, some leaders are sounding alarm bells.

In an editorial this weekend in the North Dallas Gazette, two prominent southern Dallas pastors, Kirkwood CME's Jerry Christian (a city of Dallas appointee to DART's board of directors) and Mt. Tabor Baptist's Stephen C. Nash, warn that Uber and its imitators are disenfranchising southern Dallas customers.

See also: Dallas Swears It's Not Trying to Crush Uber, Just Regulate it into an Unrecognizable Form

They don't mention Uber by name, but there's little question that's who they're referring to when they say that the "leading black car for hire service provider cherry picks and profiles its customers."

They explain:

To hire their vehicle a potential customer must have a credit card on file and agree to pay in advance when requesting service on his or her smart phone. Unlike taxis, black cars don't accept cash.

According to its app-based website, debit and prepaid credit cards are not accepted either.

That means black car service is out of reach for a number of our members since debit and prepaid cards may be their only credit cards.

Unfortunately, people of color know a lot about profiling. From redlining loans to walking at your own risk in upscale neighborhoods, "profiling" to us conjures up ugly historical barriers.

Our history is full of documented profiling; and profiling, whether done secretly or done in plain sight, has not been good for us.

Already, those companies "ignore our community without penalty." If that's allowed to continue, Christian and Nash worry that traditional taxicabs will follow suit, leaving 45 percent of the city's population without access to a vital link in the city's public transportation system.

The essay stops short of calling for an outright ban on Uber, but not by much. They urge the City Council and Mayor Mike Rawlings to create a level playing field by forcing app-based, ride-for-hire services to comply with the same rules that govern taxis, thus ensuring "uniform vehicle for hire service both North and South of Interstate 30."

"If the city does not force all service providers to play by the same regulated rules," they write, "finding a taxi in Southern Dallas may become as rare as finding a black car for hire."

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113 comments
bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

These are the same preachers who agreed to ban the school superintendent from Sunday services - because he interfered with a corrupt contracting practice.

addisonbud
addisonbud

If memory serves me correctly....wasn't an African American city councilman that helped run all the small African American cab companies out of business while collecting bribes from Yellow Cab?

I think it is racist on the preachers' parts to assume all African Americans don't have credit cards and can not afford the $6 minimum charge.  You can't play the race card just because you can't afford something.  



L8nitedave
L8nitedave

So Uber is the reason people in South Dallas can't get to the Apple store, Central Market, Restoration Hardware or Bob's Chop house, OK got it.

jmckee3
jmckee3

The astounding thing in all of this is this is a market that largely only exists because cab companies offer such bad service that cheapskates like me would rather spend $6 more not to deal with them

I don't get some thrill out of riding in a Town Car instead of a cab, I would often pick a cab over Uber if I wasn't worried about the cab actually showing up to rip me off if they agree to take me where I am going and then throw a fit over a tip and using a credit card.

Stop shitting all over your customers and a lot of my Uber rides will be cab rides again.

lankyw
lankyw

Sorry I Drive for UBER and live in SE Dallas, and In  would love to pick up people in my area, or anywhere I am requested.

cdalleninc
cdalleninc

These religious leaders need to learn a thing or two about economics. And shut their mouths. People who have *debit-only* cards and lack smartphones are probably less likely to afford these car-for-hire services. And suggesting that local government, like the City of Dallas, should intrude on private business is another example in a long list of good intention policies gone wrong. Leave. Uber. Alone.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Let's see: Have a pre-paid debit card and no other form of banking?  Check.

Live south of I-30 and north of I-20? Check.

Lack a phone capable of using the Uber app? Check.

Belong to a long oppressed and beleaguered minority?  Che...... crap.

Racial profiling doesn't seem to work here, preacher-man.

ryan762
ryan762

This blog is profiling. You have to have an internet connection to read it, and poor people are less likely to have internet connections. And African-Americans are statistically more likely to be poor.

Why does Unfair Park hate black people?

Or maybe instead of just holding press conferences and complaining, maybe they should come up with their own South Dallas Uber that can be dispatched without the Internet or a credit card. If the market is there to support it, then it will succeed (I mean, I know why not. They're not trying to get Uber to change, they're trying to run Uber out of town as the behest of Yellow).

DaveBobSutton
DaveBobSutton

The pastors are right on. They raise a critical point that techies seem completely unaware of. Taxis are an extension of public transportation. They’re a public utility.

As such, taxis are designed to serve the public interest—particularly the poor and disabled. Uber (and other rogue apps) can’t and won’t serve people who don’t have a smart phone, credit card or use a wheelchair. So, Uber inevitably cherry picks the easiest and most lucrative fares available. Also, because Uber doesn’t adhere to any taxi regulations, it can flood Dallas’ roads with an unlimited number of new vehicles competing against taxi drivers. As legitimate taxi drivers’ incomes drop, their ability and willingness to serve profit-neutral fares, like the poor and disabled, will drop precipitously.

Legitimate taxi drivers will simply be too desperate to reliably help poor and disabled passengers. As the pastors wrote, their community will definitely become the “biggest loser.”

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

These Dallas "arguments" about Uber is why everyone outside of Texas thinks Texans are dumb...because we do crud like this that gives them very good reason

scambs04
scambs04

My card on file is a debit card, and I have never had any issues.  Oh, I am also black.  There are tons of areas of Dallas that don't have cabs readily available, so why should Uber be any different?  

ktbird7
ktbird7

How is it even possible that they could accept credit but not debit. What bank in the US uses anything but Visa, Mastercard, etc for their debit cards? Just run it as credit and it works. This applies to all the big banks locally like Bank of America, which I'm sure is what most of these south Dallas folks are using.

Something is fishy here.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This sort of overreach into bizarre racist accusations has already diluted the war against sexual harassment.  False racist accusations are the same as false sexual harassment claims, in that they make future valid claims suspect.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

By the way - did yellow cab write the editorials and give them to the pastors to sign their names?

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

ebailey75057 is correct - How about these pastors do something about why people don't want to go into south Dallas?  How about they do something about the thugs and criminals that infest south Dallas?  How about they preach that stealing and robbing are NOT acceptable and that going to jail is something to be ashamed of instead of no big deal?  They complain about what others are doing - what are they doing to fix south Dallas?  By the way, lining the pockets of John Wiley Price and his corrupt cronies is not a good answer.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

New Flash!  There are fully armed police who don't want to visit those neighborhoods.  Why is that one has to wonder, maybe it has something to do with self preservation.  Before the Pastors from the southside start  spouting about issues with the lack of services compared to other parts of the city, they should really start working on making their neighborhoods safe for those services to begin with. You want the services?  Start preaching to your congregations and ask them take back their neighborhoods.  Maybe after the that you'll get the services your asking for.

pak152
pak152

@jmckee3 having ridden in both cabs and towncars I would much rather ride in the towncar

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ryan762 "...maybe they should come up with their own South Dallas Uber that can be dispatched without the Internet or a credit card...."

That would be DART, I believe.

bullard.randyj
bullard.randyj

@DaveBobSutton I was wondering if there would be a YellowCab schill in the mix here. Bingo!

YellowCabs are a business.  A corrupt business that pays for their "licenses" through bribes to city officials who will the defend their interests over the interests of the citizenry.  They rip off their customers, provide HORRIBLE service, and are such an unpleasant experience that I will do ANYTHING to avoid using them.

Town after town after town, Uber comes in, turns the entire crappy local cab industry on its head to the cheers of the citizens.  Your protests under the guise of 'protecting the disadvantaged', who are the WORST served by the YellowCab, are laughable and pathetic.  Try harder.

gabe48
gabe48

@DaveBobSutton Oh no, not more Towncars flooding our highways; oh the humanity! Waiting 30 minutes for a cab to even be dispatched, dishonest Yellow Cab drivers who purposefully take longer routes and overcharge, drivers who become angry as soon as you mention paying with a credit card are the reason Uber is so successful.  Good for them, it is a free market.  

Despite your ridiculous claims, Yellow Cab, as well as Uber are PRIVATE companies so your entire point is moot.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@DaveBobSutton Says the inevitable post by a Yellow Cab shill.  

1. Taxi service is not a public utility.  It is a private enterprise, operating for profit.  The model is out-dated and only continues to exist due to unduly high bars to entry secured by bribing public officials.

2. Taxi companies do not serve the public interest.  They serve the bottom line, like any business.  Dallas Cab companies serve the bottom line by directly opposing the interest of the public you seem to think they serve.  Horrible service, shoddy vehicles, spiking the meters, service refusals and drop off extortion are not "in the public interest".

3. Flooding Dallas' roadways with new vehicles (or, if you like, more efficient, less polluting vehicles) would however, seem to be in the public interest.  I'm sure the patrons appreciate being in a clean, well-kept vehicle that doesn't reek of old cigarette smoke and congealed fast food grease.

4. Being a privately held and run enterprise, so called 'legitimate' taxi drivers should expect a drop in income when a better-run, more efficient business model replaces their own out-dated model.

WylieH
WylieH

@DaveBobSutton Uber isn't a taxi service--- it matches customers with much higher priced limousine services.  Limousine services aren't a public utility or public transit system.  Uber doesn't cherry pick fares, it is available to anyone with a smartphone and a debit card--- the limousine services it matches customers with are regulated by the City of Dallas.


gabe48
gabe48

@whocareswhatithink You should probably do a bit of investigation on the history of Uber in other cities.  Start with Washington D.C.  This has nothing to do with a 'Texans are dumb,' fallacy; it has EVERYTHING to do with corporate greed manifesting itself when competitors provide better service in a free market.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@whocareswhatithink Uh-uhnh.  It's because you people vote for assholes like Cruz, Gohmert, Cornyn, Perry, Barton, Hensarling, Stockman, Sessions, Farenthold, and on and on and on.

WylieH
WylieH

@ktbird7 What's "fishy" is the involvement of Rev. Christian and Rev. Nash, two guys who appear to make a habit out of "profiteering" on issues that have nothing to do with religion and/or their parishioners.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @ktbird7 They don't take debit-only cards.  The card has to have a CC backer and some line of credit/indebtidness attached to it.  I suspect this is actually in case they need to add a penalty to your ride 

I know there is a significant charge if you puke in the back of the car, something like $150-250.  And it's automatic to your CC.  If you have a prepaid or debit-only card with just $50 on it, they can't do that.

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

@ktbird7 As several of the comments below state, they do take debit.  The Pastor's are either lying or didn't read the Yellow Cab prepared statement.

bullard.randyj
bullard.randyj

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

This holds true for 80%+ of the faux cries of racism today.  The Race Pimps have begun operating at an entirely new level since Obama got elected - crying a shrill "RACISM!!!" at every perceived wrong, whether it has anything to do with race or not.  In doing it, they destroy what little credibility they had and undermine their own cause.

When someone cries "RACISM!!!!" these days, you can be safe to ignore it.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@ebailey75057 If you drive from Abrams to Central on Mockingbird you will pass three grocery stores. Once you go south of 30 finding one is like winning the lottery until you get to the suburbs. No one wants to do business down there, you are exactly right.

jmckee3
jmckee3

I have too, it's still not worth $12 round trip from Uptown to the gayborhood if I didn't have experiences like being cursed at while being kicked out of a cab for just very politely asking if the cab driver might have just accidentally pressed the "extra" button a few more times to add $2 to the fare. And I have many, many times to follow up on law breaking cab drivers with the city and Yellow Cab with no luck.

Uber isn't favoring those of us that live in Uptown, they are just recognizing the fact that we use cabs a lot and their,"competition" hate us and treats us like shit because they know they aren't getting a fare to Addison out of us.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@RTGolden1 Or a 1973 Chevy pickup with car seats bolted in the back and an armor plated cab complete with a payment slot.

Dog_Star
Dog_Star

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

Did you really just bust out the timeless phrase 'you people'? Say that in public in mixed company and let us know how it works out for you. Your ad hominem attacks show your thought processes to be stunted and pathetic. 

ktbird7
ktbird7

@everlastingphelps Fair enough, but that's not the same thing as "debit cards". The majority of debit cards don't fit this category.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@P1Gunter @ebailey75057  

I had reason at one time to go into the Tom Thumb on MLK by Fair Park on a regular basis a number of years ago.  It was amazing to go down the aisles and see people open up packages, feed themselves, put the opened package down and then walk off.  The cereal, bread and candy aisles were the worst.  I do not know if the were that starving or just what, but it was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@primi_timpano 

Are you Mad MaxNoDifference, perchance?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference @RTGolden1 Almost describes the ice cream truck that served the apartments I lived in near Buckner and John West.  I kept waiting for the van to play the theme from mad max instead of pop goes the weasel.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This is NO laughing matter, unfortunately.  It's the "The boy who cried wolf story".

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