Archive | Transportation

Should Uber Be Blamed For Rebecca Dykes Murder?

I kept following the news and what people wrote on blogs and social media over the last few days about the murder of Rebecca Dykes on Friday night, and I found it quite astonishing how almost everybody was steering the conversation from Uber’s lack of responsibility to blaming the murder on our sexist culture.

I do acknowledge that we have a problem in our Lebanese society. Some women are exposed to domestic violence, others suffer from sexual harassment… but whether you like it or not this is unfortunately part of life and nothing is going to change overnight, just like you can’t expect gun violence to suddenly end in the US. Small progress however is being made thanks to the efforts of NGOs like Abaad and Kafa for example.

Still, the problem with the case of Rebecca Dykes doesn’t only lie in our culture which looks down on women, but also in the fact that Uber massively fucked up by allowing a driver with a criminal record to join their platform while people usually opt to use their service to feel in safer hands.

According to Uber’s webite, a clean Judicial Record is a minimum requirements for those who want to drive for them. Therefore, this incident could have been avoided if someone did their job right by rejecting this driver from getting on board… And to make things worse, they didn’t even issue a public statement to at least condemn the crime or apologize for the violation they did. On the other hand, when you visit their Facebook page, you ironically get greeted by an image with the tag line “Cheers to Safer Nightlife”. RIGHT!!!

Uber also had a similar problem in UK earlier this year by the way and were stripped of their licence in London for failure to report criminal offenses and lack of performing driver background checks. So it’s only logical to hold them accountable for doing the same here as well, in hope of at least getting a straight explanation about what went wrong on their side.

Update:

Uber reached out to me to give their side and below is what they wrote:

“All drivers that use the Uber app in Lebanon are fully licensed by the government and must have a clear judicial record.“ – Uber spokesperson

  • We can confirm that the driver arrested for this horrific attack had a clean background check and all the correct government permits.
  • We are in close contact with the authorities and we’re assisting their investigation in any way we can.
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Taxi Booking Apps Now Cost Less Than Regular Taxis in Lebanon

It’s been a while since I last used a ride hailing app around Beirut, and when I recently booked a Careem last Saturday it caught my attention that they currently charge 6,000L.L for rides within Beirut which is less than the standard fare you pay for other regular Taxis (10,000L.L / ride). I later checked UBER and noticed that they are charging a similar low fare as well.

I know the price difference doesn’t matter much with people who rarely use taxi cabs to commute, but those who do it frequently will definitely save some good money using mobile apps. My wife for example take cabs 3 to 4 times a week and I already convinced her to use Careem since it is my favorite booking app locally.

Talking about Careem, they recently announced integration with Google Maps, so you can see the estimated time of arrival as well as a fare estimate when you search for some location on Google Maps which can be quite useful. To try it out you can simply choosing the ride-hailing icon when searching for directions, then clicking “Open App” to launch Careem and book your ride.

I know the use of apps is to some associated with paying premium prices, but in the case of taxi booking apps it is not, so give it a try.

Photo via Flickr

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