RIDE SHARING CRUSADE

Are you safe in your hired car? After reports of sexual assaults in Uber and Lyft cars, New York State Senator Luis Sepulveda went on a crusade to bring an end to that threat to the public and the victims due process under the law. His victory against both companies and what’s next are ahead.

Aired on May 18, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO METROFOCUS I'M RAFAEL PI RAMAN.

HE BEGIN WITH BIG CHANGES HOW RIDE SHARE COMPANIES HANDLING CLAIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AGAINST THEM.

BOTH RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THEY WILL NOW ALLOW VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT TO TAKE CASES TO COURT, CHAENGING A PREVIOUS POLICY THAT FORCED PASSENGERS TO PURSUE CLAIMS THROUGH AN INTERNAL ARBITRATION SYSTEM.

THE CHANGE IN POLICY CAME TWO WEEKS AFTER A DAMNING CNN REPORT THAT FOUND AT LEAST 103 DRIVERS IN THE U.S. HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING OR ABUSING PASSENGERS IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS.

IN RESPONSE TO THE REPORT NEW YORK STATE LAWMAKERS IMMEDIATELY INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO BAN ALL SHARE RIDE SHARING FROM FORCING ALLEGED VICTIMS INTO ARBITRATION AS OPPOSED TO THE COURTS.

THE VERY CHANGE THAT USUAL AND LIFT NOW PUT IN PLACE.

A STATE SENATOR WHO SBRUSED THAT LEGISLATION EARLIER THIS MONTH SAYS THE CHANGES DON'T GO FAR ENOUGH AND THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG WHEN IT COMES TO CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY ON THE PART OF UBERS AND COMPANIES LIKE IT.

THE SENATOR JOINS US NOW.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM ONCE AGAIN.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE.

SO, YOU KNOW AS I SAID IN THE SBRUKS, THE CNN -- THE DAMNING CNN REPORT GAVE US THE NATIONAL FIGURES OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS.

DO WE KNOW HOW SERIOUS THE PROBLEM HERE IS NEW YORK STATE AND NEW YORK CITY?

DO WE HAVE STATISTICS ABOUT THAT.

WE DON'T HAVE PRECISE STATISTICS WITH YOU WE CAN ASSUME BECAUSE THE CITY IS A PLACE WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE USE USUAL THAT MANY OF THE REPORTED CASES ACTUALLY HAPPEN HERE IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

WE'RE PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT IT'S A MAJOR PROBLEM HERE IN THE CITY.

SO THE CHANGES THAT YOU CALL FOR AND -- I MEAN YOU HAVE TWO BILLS RIGHT -- THE CHANGES YOU CALL FOR IN AT LEAST ONE OF THE BILLS USUAL AND LIFT PUT INTO PLACE.

BUT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH WITH THE LEGISLATION.

AS A GENERAL PREMISE I'M COMPLETELY OPPOSED TO ARBITRATION CLAUSES.

THEY PUT THOSE CLAUSES IN TO BENEFIT THEM.

IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS WHERE WE PUSH LEGISLATION TO BAIER THE CLAUSES DOESN'T MEAN THAT TOMORROW EVEN THOUGH LIFT AND USUAL AGREED NO LONGER WILL THE ARBITRATION CLAUSES APPLY WHEN THERE IS A SEXUAL ASSAULT BY ONE OF THEIR DRIVERS.

IT DOESN'T MEAN TOMORROW THEY CAN'T SAY WE'RE GOING TO REINSTATE THE ARBITRATION CLAUSE.

WE HAVE WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THROUGH THE LEGISLATION THEY DON'T HAVE THE OPTION.

YES WE ARE HAPPY THEY'VE TAKEN THE STEPS.

BUT THE ARBITRATION CLAUSES CAN STILL APPLY WITH OTHER PROBLEMS, FOR EXAMPLE, DISCRIMINATION.

RIGHT.

ANY TYPE OF INJURY YOU MAY HAVE IN THE VEHICLE, YOU KNOW, SO IT'S NOT -- IT'S STILL NOT ALL ENCOMPASSING.

YOUR LEGISLATION CALLS FOR AN END TO INCLUDING THAT ARBITRATION POLICY WITHIN ANY AGREEMENT REGARDLESS OF THE ISSUE.

NO WE STARTED FIRST WITH THE ISSUE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT THAT'S MORE IMMEDIATE.

RIGHT.

THOSE HAVE SEEN THE REPORT CAN SEE HOW DANGEROUS THAT IS.

THE LEGISLATION STARTED WITH THAT.

BUT THE INTENT IS TO MAKE IT MORE ENCOMPASSING.

I NEVER READ THE AGREEMENTS.

NOBODY DOES.

EVEN IF YOU READ IT YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT.

BUT I WAS SURPRISED WHEN I FOUND OUT.

I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS, THE ONE IN USUALER 6 THOUSANDWARDS WITHIN THOSE SIX THOUSAND WORDS ONLY ABOUT A THOUSAND APPLY TO THE ARBITRATION PROCESS.

I'VE WITHIN A PRACTICING ATTORNEY FOR 27 YEARS.

I USE USUAL.

I'VE NEVER READ THE CLAUSES.

AND SO THOSE LAY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT PRACTICE LAW OR UNDERSTAND THE LAW IT'S MORE EGREGIOUS.

TELL US ABOUT THE SECOND BILL.

THAT'S THE POP UP BILL.

THE INDIVIDUALS THE FIRST TIME THEY DOWNLOAD THE APPS OR IN A COUPLE OF TIMES THERE AFTER A POP-UP WILL COME UP SAYING DO YOU REALIZE THERE ARE ARBITRATION CLAUSES THAT YOU GIVE UP LEGAL RIGHTS AND WE WANT THE CONSUMER TO BE AWARE OF IT WHEN YOU USE THE APPS AND RIDE SHARING THAT ESSENTIALLY YOU MAY BE SUBJECTED TO A NON-TRADITIONAL TRIBUNAL IF YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF INJURY OR ANY SORT OF ACTION THAT YOU WANT TO BRING AGAINST THE RIDE SHARING COMPANY.

YOU ARE ALSO CALLING FOR THE RIDE HAILING COMPANIES TO SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT CRIMES COMMITTED BY DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS.

CORRECT.

AND SHARE IT WITH POLICE.

THAT'S NOT HAPPENING NOW.

IT'S NOT HAPPENING NOW AND IT'S A PROBLEM.

ONE OF THE BY PRODUCTS OF THE LEGISLATION IS THAT IT WILL IT WILL COMPEL THE COMPANIES TO BE MORE SELECTIVE ABOUT THE DRIVERS THEY HIRE OR CONTRACT WITH WHEN PEOPLE ARE USING THE RIDE SHARING.

THE COMPANIES CAN BE SORT OF SOMEWHAT RELATIVELY INDIFFERENT AS TO WHO THEY'RE CONTRACTING WITH.

NOW IT'S WITH THIS WITH PEOPLE KNOWING ALL THE INFORMATION.

-- SUNLIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT.

WE WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IF DRIVERS HAVE INCIDENCE OF VIOLENCE.

WE WANT INDIVIDUALS TO KNOW THE COMPANY THAT YOU CONTRACT WITH FOR RIDE SHARING HAS A PROBLEM WITH CRIME.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET THE INFORMATION OUT SFLA THIS ISSUE AS WE MAKE CLEAR, I THINK, IS REALLY SERIOUS AND YOUR LEGISLATION IS VERY IMPORTANT.

BUT, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY I SIDE FROM THE PARTICULAR ISSUES THERE IS AND MUST BY ELECTED OFFICIALS AGAINST THE RIDE SHARING COMPANIES BECAUSE THEY HAVE -- BECAUSE THE TAX Y INDUSTRY WHICH SUPPORTS A LOT OF ELECTED OFFICIALS PARTICULARLY IN NEW YORK ARE REELING BECAUSE OF THE COMPETITION THAT USUAL LIFT AND COMPANIES LIKE THAT GIVE THEM AND THAT'S WHY YOU GUYS HATE THEM ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE.

WHAT DO YOU SAY.

THIS LEGISLATOR NEVER RECEIVED ANY PENNY FROM ANY TAX Y COMPANY.

YOU HEARD THAT SAID.

YOU CAN HEAR THAT.

BUT I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE CASE IN THIS SITUATION.

I'VE RECEIVED EMAILS AND TEXTS ABOUT HOW I CONTINUE TO PERPETUATE THE ENVIRONMENT.

AND ESSENTIALLY THIS IS A SAFETY CONCERN.

AND IF YOU WANT -- IF PEOPLE WANT TO IMPLY SOMEHOW THAT THE TRADITIONAL TAX Y COMPANIES ARE PUSHING THIS, I'VE HAD NOT A SINGLE CONVERSATION WITH ANY OF THE COMPANIES, ANY TAX Y DRIVER THAT'S NOT PART OF THE RIDE SHARING PROGRAM.

THIS REALLY EVOLVED AS A RESULT OFWAY WE SAW ON CNN AND SOME OF THE INFORMATION AND RESEARCH WE'VE DONE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THIS VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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