Uber Technologies wants to improve its foolproof, "industry leading" background checks on its drivers... implicitly admitting that in different locations the company's checks "vary significantly."
Yes, CEO Travis Kalanick's road to riches (remember that $40 billion valuation?) has not been without incident or accident this year.
With executive Emil Michael showing more road rage at the wheel, recent bans like the one in the wake of an alleged rape in Delhi, that hammer incident in SF, and dangerous slash outrageous surge pricing scenarios, the company pretty clearly needs to assure its customers that Uber is, if not "good," then at least safe.
And with a suit leveled against Uber Technologies by the SF and LA District Attorneys, Uber isn't really making much of a choice anymore. In fact, one of the charges in that suit is that UberX customers pay a $1.00 “Safe Rides Fees” and are "falsely told... that part of that money was paying for an 'industry-leading' background check process."
The lawsuit further alleges that the commercial system Uber uses isn't as rigorous as the fingerprint checks through law enforcement databases required for taxi drivers in California's populous areas.
"As our rapid growth continues, our customer service must evolve to keep pace," Phillip Cardenas, Head of Global Safety at Uber, wrote in a blog post yesterday. "We are reminded by the recent tragic event in India that best-in-class safety must be a constant quest," he continued. As Uber "quests" onward the company will introduce, sometime in 2015, "biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening."
"We are finding solutions in many places that range from polygraph exams that fill gaps in available data to adding our own processes on top of existing screening for commercial licenses which is what we are undertaking in India." It's like Uber but for telling the truth!
No word yet on whether Uber's executive team will be given these examinations.