Submission to House of Representatives, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio – ‘Impact of Rideshare TNCs, Pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, crime rates, sexual assaults, economy and title fraud’ – Ride Safe

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Ride Safe International 501c3 Non-Profit

-Cover Letter-

Ride Safe International is a non-profit formed in 2016 for the expressed purpose of addressing commercial transportation safety, consumer protections and fraud in commercial transportation.

The current goal of this non-profit is to provide resources, information and solutions to the corruption of commercial transportation, the service industry and public safety hazards caused by the unregulated and often fraudulent operations of Rideshare (TNC) or otherwise termed “gig” or so-called “sharing economy” companies.

The scope of the “gig” economy business expressed by Companies such as Uber, Lyft, AirBNB, Doordash, Postmates, Instacart and others are specific to three primary factors of the service or product as it is provided.

1- The service and/or product is appropriated through the use of smart phone apps.

2- The customer and partner or actual provider of the product and/or service both agree to liability, arbitration and safety waivers in order to use the app service that arranges the product and/or service.

3- The company distributing the app for arranging these products or services makes a claim in one or more markets of their current operations that they are not actually providing the products or services but rather the medium of the partner or provider who has signed onto the app to provide the products or services as a third party independent contractor. The partner provider then pays a percentage of sales or monthly fee to the company providing the app.

The primary effect of these business models on transportation has been in the creation of a fraudulent transportation market by Rideshare TNC companies.

Without the introduction of proper regulation to the Rideshare TNC market and other “gig” economy companies in general, an epidemic of fraud, crime and sexual assault that has plagued commercial transportation for the last six years, will not only continue but also continue to develop and expand upon itself with newer and more dangerous forms.

This report contains six years of research, screen captures, articles and testimony from members of the Taxi, limo, private hire and also Rideshare TNC industries.

I urge the representatives of this committee to carefully consider this information and the proposed solutions contained within.

Ride Safe has made several requests of Uber, Lyft and drivers operating for Uber and Lyft to submit content for this report and several other media, criminal incident and general information requests since 2016. To date only very few Uber and Lyft drivers have made submissions (contained within this report) while the companies Uber and Lyft have provided only one (contained within). The amount of content and information requests responded to and contributed by Taxi, Limo Bus, air travel, boat travel and rail travel providers has been resounding and comprehensive compared to that of Rideshare TNC companies.

Sincerely,

Justin La Plante, Administrator Ride Safe International

Section 1 – Item 1

Ride Safe complaint to DSPS (Wisconsin Rideshare TNC regulator) concerning fraudulent rideshare business and Rideshare drivers on the Uber platform found with criminal records and title fraud. REF- *Binnings Letter*

In 2016, After several months submitting to the complaint process of the regulator assigned to Rideshare business under Wisconsin state law (DSPS) a response was issued by a Lawyer representing UBER and the complaint was then closed by DSPS with no action taken.

This complaint report and testimony from Justin La Plante were submitted to the Wisconsin state legislation during a hearing regarding the proposal to deregulate Wisconsin’s taxi industry (2018-AB918) and remove municipal regulation with regard to Taxis, state wide.

This response begins on Page 20 of this attached document:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lc/hearing_testimony_and_materials/2017/ab918/ab0918_2018_02_08.pdf

In this document is a response letter from G. Scott Binnings a legal representative for Uber (Binnings Letter).

In the Binnings letter, the representative for Uber informs DSPS that Uber maintains no liability in the matters and continues to indicate through out the letter that due to the law created specifically for Rideshare TNC operations in the state of Wisconsin, the matters of driver criminal records, title fraud and crimes committed by drivers using falsely appropriated Uber accounts and operating with criminal records in excess of safety claims ARE NOT the concern or liability of Uber or a matter for review, prosecution or censure by DSPS of or about Uber.

DSPS (Department of Safety and Professional Services, Wisconsin) closed the case and did not apply regulation after receiving the response (Binnings Letter) from UBER.

This exchange indicates that the regulatory system regarding ridehsare TNC operations, not just in Wisconsin but several other US states has been established through a fraudulent system of legislation bribery and lobbying by rideshare companies.

The influence on legislators by Uber and Lyft specifically in creating these laws has been openly documented along with the massive amount of political lobbying funded by companies like Uber from 2013 to 2016 during the essential boom era of rideshare TNCs establishing business through out several US states and other countries.

Within each of these state laws created in that time are a series of loopholes which allow for Ridehsare TNC companies to operate without proper background checks on driver/partners or actual insurance liability for a majority of the rides provided to customers.

These items are noted in the initial complaint to DSPS by Justin La Plante.

Section 2 – Item 1

Epidemic of Sexual Assaults by rideshare drivers and obstruction of the law by Rideshare companies

In August of 2018 Justin La Plante, The administrator of Ride Safe was put in direct contact with an individual calling himself ‘Archer” with Uber’s ‘Special investigations Unit’.

The following article contains the result of that communication with Uber’s ‘Special Investigations Unit’.

This article also references an article released by CNN detailing a large number of weekly sexual assault reports being hidden by Uber, not just from the general public but also Law Enforcement.

Further investigations have found that Lyft has been in the same practice of hiding crime and sexual assault reports concerning their own drivers from the general public and law enforcement.

Section 3 -Item 1

More indications of regulatory corruption and manipulation of legislators. Submission from Taxi Company representatives in North Carolina.

Letter from:

David A Hairabedian Owner, A American Company   Hendersonville, North Carolina.

&

Amanda Shoemake, Night and Day Taxi and Transportation Services Hendersonville NC

Office 828-693-8099Cell 828-489-1245

 In September 2015, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that regulates ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

One reason why Uber hailed these regulations is because the company helped write them and these regulations are based largely on Uber’s business model.

This bill states these companies must pay an annual fee of $5,000 (same is WI, IL, DE, IO and WA rideshare law) to the state of North Carolina in order to operate.

I have spoken to our local taxi authority and members of our City Council about these TNC companies and they told me that the State of North Carolina told local City and County law enforcement to stand down, they are not allowed to regulate any TNC company
(same is WI, IL, DE, IO and WA Rideshare law – elimination of municipal right to regulate) .            

In February 2018 a local news paper did a report on Uber and Lyft. In this report it states:

“One promise of the ride-hailing companies was fewer cars clogging city streets”.

But studies suggest the opposite, that ride-hailing companies are pulling riders off buses, subways, bicycles and their own feet and putting them in cars.

The impact of all those cars is becoming clear.

The emerging consensus is that ride-hailing is increasing congestion.  As a taxi company owner and driver I have noticed this increase in congestion.

Not only are the roads congested with local Uber and Lyft drivers, there are several out of state Uber and Lyft drivers working in this area. At our local airport there are more TNC drivers then there are regulated taxi and for-hire drivers combined. Our local airport did a study and found that over 60% of its customers are being picked up by Uber and Lyft verses local regulated taxis, for-hire and shuttles.            

There have been several reports in North Carolina and all across the US of fake Uber drivers attacking customers. I did a quick search online and found out how easy it is to become a Fake Uber and Lyft driver. All you have to do is go to their website, see what types of cars they allow, print off their “Temporary Decal” and place it in the window of your car. I was able to print these decals off without giving either company any information about myself or my vehicle.

You can go on Ebay or Amazon and order Uber and Lyft lighted signs for your car as well. And now with the new North Carolina law where you have to have your tag number displayed on the front of your car you can print this off as well without giving them any information.            Uber and Lyft say they do background checks on their drivers. I know this is false. A local cab company had a driver come in for an interview, they sent this guy to get his background check, physical, and driving record which is required for local taxi drivers in my area.

They submitted his information to the local taxi authority and the taxi authority rejected this person. Two days later this guy was seen driving for Uber at the airport.

NBC channel 4 did a three month long investigation and found that Uber and Lyft had multiple drivers with criminal records. These drivers had been convicted of burglary, assault and battery, drunk driving just to name a few. They also interview a reformed ex-convict with a 20-year rap sheet and asked her to apply for Uber. This ex-convict filled out the online application and agreed to the background check and four weeks later Uber sent her a notification that her background check cleared and she could drive. If you, the customer, read the fine print after you download the Uber’s app and agree to their terms it states that Uber absolves itself of anything that happens to you this includes but not limited to accidents, injury, theft, physical attacks, rape and even death. These companies do not care about their customers or who is driving for them.            

Since Uber classifies their drivers as independent contractors the company denies any liability when things go wrong. This brings me to their so called insurance coverage, which is supposed to provide supplemental insurance coverage to their driver when the app is turn on. This is also false information on Uber and Lyfts part. Last year at our local airport, a local cab company was involved in a wreck with an Uber driver.

The Uber driver was found at fault and written a ticket. When the cab owner went to file a claim with the Uber drivers personal insurance company, the cab owner was told due to this person using their personal car for commercial use without commercial insurance they were no longer covered under that policy. In other words, their insurance dropped them. The cab owner than turned to Uber to file a claim but Uber would not pay since there was no customer in the Uber drivers car even though they had their app on at the time of the accident. 

Another local Uber driver was involved in a wreck on the interstate on her way to pick up a customer and her personal insurance dropped her as well for the same reason and Uber refused to pay anything since she did not have a customer in her car even tho she had her app on and was in route to pick up.           

Since Uber and Lyft are not regulated by any local city or county in the US, there is no one watching them to see if their drivers are following the rules set forth by the State and their own company.  Other countries around the world have already banned TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft  for reasons such as its drivers breach regulations other taxis firms must adhere to. They also found that their company business practice constituted unfair competition and another country determined Uber and Lyft to be a taxi service and not technology company as they claim to be. Drivers are supposed to only pick customers up thru the use of the company app. This is not being done. Drivers have made up business cards with their name, personal phone numbers, personal email address and more. They are passing these cards out around town to get customers to contact them personally instead of going thru the app for a ride. Not only are they using business cards to get customers they are also using social media outlets advertising they are an Uber or Lyft driver and if anyone needs a ride to contact them.           

Over the past few years I have picked up several customers who have had something negative to say about Uber and Lyft in this area. I have had customers from other countries say they could not believe Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate here, that where they came from their country had banned them. I’ve had customers tell me that their Uber driver charged them some ridiculous amount for a short ride while others say they couldn’t get an Uber or Lyft due to either where they where going or because of where they lived. Some of our customers only go a short distance while others live a good distance away from our office. We have customers call us for a cab and ask us if we could help them because their Uber driver left them stranded. This is normally because the customer is either handy-cap and has a wheel chair or they have a service dog with them and a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers will not pick them up. There was a report on the news during the 2016 election where a group of people had attended a Republican meeting and was discussing events that took place while riding in their Uber.

The Uber driver was a Democrat and did not like what his customers where saying so he pulled over and kicked them out of his car and left them stranded in the middle of no where.              In conclusion, it is my belief that TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft are the same as taxi companies. Both pick people up on demand for a price, the only difference I see is one uses an app while the other uses a telephone and emails. I believe the laws should be changed and more regulations are needed for all TNC companies.  It is also my belief and the belief of others I have spoken with that these companies are unsafe for both the drivers and the customers and local law enforcement should have more power to insure the safety of the public.

-Thank You

David A Hairabedian Owner, A American Company   Hendersonville, North Carolina.

&

Amanda Shoemake, Night and Day Taxi and Transportation Services Hendersonville NC

Office 828-693-8099Cell 828-489-1245

Section 4 -Item 1

The Stultz Report

A regularly updated report of of Criminal incidents concerning Taxi and Rideshare drivers from 2014 to today.

Prepared by Sean Stultz, A Taxi driver in Dover Delaware.

The summation of the Stultz Report:

-That no less than 90% of all current incidents of assault on customers reported concerning Rideshare TNC and Taxi operations are committed by Rideshare TNC drivers operating for Uber and Lyft.

-That Rideshare TNC drivers cause more incidents of uninsured wrecks than Taxi drivers.

-That The most common reason for the denial of insurance claims for Rideshare TNC accidents being that the Rideshare TNC driver did not inform their own insurance carrier of commercial use of their own vehicle.

-That annually, the Rideshare TNC companies UBER and LYFT contribute more incidents of sexual assault committed by their drivers than ever recorded annually since the invention of commercial motor transportation.

-That annually, the Rideshare TNC companies UBER and LYFT contribute more incidents of assault, theft and fraud committed by their drivers than ever recorded annually since the invention of commercial motor transportation.

-That the ratio of crime concerning Rideshare TNC drivers in all areas where Uber and Lyft operate averages four times higher than the rate of crime concerning Taxi drivers.

Section 5- Item 1

Exploitation and defrauding of Rideshare TNC drivers and customers by Rideshare companies.

Terms in usage and contracting for the use of services and app usage by Rideshare TNC customers and drivers are contracted and agreed upon through an exploitative and fraudulent system.

Item – Uber 2 Driver contracting

The contract which establishes the relationship between Uber and a person driving for the Uber application can be found at the following link:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/uber-regulatory-documents/country/united_states/RASIER%20Technology%20Services%20Agreement%20Decmeber%2010%202015.pdf

This agreement is not between Uber Technologies and the driver but rather a company by the name of Raiser LLC which is named as the party in liability and legal representation for the business operations of Uber Technologies.

Through out this document several terms indicate a fraudulent arrangement of liability waivers while not actually requiring the driver to properly establish or present proper vetting, verified proof of proper insurance for commercial transportation purposes or training for the purposes of commercial transportation.

Item -3 Uber customer contracting

For the use of the uber app as a customer, the customer must agree to the following document:

https://www.uber.com/legal/terms/us/

Through out this document several terms indicate a fraudulent arrangement of liability waivers and statements to declare that Uber will not be responsible for customer damages including but not limited to ‘bodily injury’,

Item 4 – Lyft driver contracting.

The contract which LYFT uses for establishing a person as a driver on the lyft app is an attached addendum to the primary LYFT Terms of service agreement for LYFT customers.

The addendum can be found at this link:

https://www.lyft.com/terms/driver-addendum

Through out this document several terms indicate a fraudulent arrangement of liability waivers while not actually requiring the driver to properly establish or present proper vetting, verified proof of proper insurance for commercial transportation purposes or training for the purposes of commercial transportation.

Item – 5 LYFT customer agreement.

The agreement which LYFT mandates that all customers of the Lyft app agree to before use can be found at this link:

https://www.lyft.com/terms

Through out this document several terms indicate a fraudulent arrangement of liability waivers and statements to declare that LYFT will not be responsible for customer damages including but not limited to ‘bodily injury’,

Item 6- Improper background checks & violations of credit and background reporting.

BOTH Uber and Lyft have been named in a lawsuit by a Florida Woman for violations of fair credit and background reporting.

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-hillsborough/tampa-woman-files-suit-against-lyft-over-background-check-mix-ups?fbclid=IwAR327UOEsgRiaHWOw1ko1M0JyRGGny_jl3JRC_lCkeoM4CydClKNjo7aqeY

The background check process used by Uber and Lyft does not cover all US states and does not include all foreign countries.

The process does not include the entire criminal history for each person and easily confuses identities.

This indicates that the third party services used by Uber and Lyft to check identities does NOT check actual law enforcement databases or a comprehensive fingerprint match database.

Section 6- Item 1

Falsified ridesare drivers, Falsified claims, bribery and Fraud by Rideshare (TNC) companies and their drivers.

Examples of falsified Uber in United States

https://www.today.com/money/fake-uber-drivers-are-out-there-here-s-how-avoid-t126919

Example of falsified Uber in United Kingdom

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/single-post/2019/10/23/Man-illegally-plying-for-hire-found-in-an-untaxed-uninsured-and-unroadworthy-vehicle?fbclid=IwAR3RDYCcQRc6pEPUbkiuDF_ywYglD1iTrq3wZpbd_H09yjrTgQkWCiGHciI

Impact of rideshare operations on Used car values.

http://www.cutoday.info/THE-feature/How-Uber-Is-Impacting-Used-Car-Values?fbclid=IwAR23cdxZn9T0PAmaRs13bJJeWQXjX_67AE02tn8c0sJjKDykNupTEZa_g_A

Section 7 – Proposals for properly regulating rideshare operations

Uniform code of commercial transportation

A need for commercial transportation providers to operate and abide by a uniform code of ethics and operational guidelines to prevent fraud, discrimination and unsafe operations.

Articles:

  1. The public has the right to liberty from direct and incidental damages of commercial transportation in any form.

*The operations of rideshare companies generate a significant system of incidental welfare at the expense of rideshare drivers, customers and the general public. Uninsured operations cost the public and inflate insurance costs. No company should have the right to force incidental cost on the public.

2. The customer has the right to liberty from fraud, direct and incidental damages of commercial transportation in any form and compensation for damages.

*A service or product sold can not force waivers of liability onto the customer or driver which involve them in uninsured operations and fraud either willingly or unknowingly. Such arrangements for services rendered or products sold create a continuous cost to the public in incidental harm and a ride in crime.

3. The driver or pilot must only operate a safe medium of transportation (vehicle or craft) that is insured at all times for commercial transportation.

*’Period 1, 2 & 3’ coverage schemes created by rideshare companies coupled with fraudulent contracting terms, surplus line insurance schemes and third party liability contracting defraud the customer and endanger the general public.

4. The medium if transportation (vehicle or craft) must carry a clear and individually numbered exterior marking that can be read clearly.

The epidemic increase of fraud and crime committed by the drivers of unmarked commercial transportation providers creates a significant issue for customer and public safety.

Legislative proposals:

Mandates not currently in regulation of Rideshare businesses.

_Communication from all drivers to their own insurance provider, DMV, lien holders of commercial use of vehicle.

_No contractual agreements that would eliminate or abridge insurance coverage or proper driver vetting.

_Clear individually numbered Vehicle marking on vehicle exterior

_Law enforcement compliance with LIVE phone response

_public phone number for complaint response/emergency requests

_Fingerprint background checks on ALL drivers

_Submitted document compliance with DMV/DOT and state assigned regulator

Section 8- Effect on city infrastructures, drunk driving, government, logistics and environment.

Due to the model of business that Rideshare TNCs operate under:

-The majority of Rideshare vehicles operate more often while empty.

-The number of Rideshare vehicles is over saturated, increasing pollution and limiting the earnings of drivers.

Labor and Wages sent back to the early 20th century

In recent months, Uber and Lyft became outraged and have lobbied heavily against new regulation proposals in California aimed at affording rideshare drivers fair wage and collective bargaining rights.

PUBLISHED TODAY, this article by Splinter focuses on the struggle of “sharing economy” companies Uber and Lyft to retain one thing through their perils with regulators. That being the ability to keep their drivers as uninsured indentured slaves and customers as willing pawns in fraud and unaccountable services.

A call for better regulations with rideshare (TNC) companies is nothing new. Since 2015 it has been regularly documented that rideshare drivers do not make a living wage.

Among one of the solutions offered by regulation would be a cap on the number of vehicles in operation.

This was a solution to low wages and over congestion that the Taxi industry was regulated with over 80 years ago when Taxi permit and Medallion systems were established to address these issues.

Out of control pollution and traffic congestion

The promise of :faster/more efficient transportation services” has fallen short as the unchecked number of rideshre (TNC) vehicles has not only destroyed fair wages for the drivers but also radially increased traffic congestion and pollution.

In major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles there are regularly no more than 14,000 taxis in operation, per city, per day at any given time. These numbers not only ensure a fair wage for each driver but they also regulate air quality and traffic congestion for other motorists generated by commercial operators.

With no regulation, Uber and Lyft have contributed an out of control level of pollution and congestion to everyday traffic in all cities where they are found.

No change in drunk driving fatalities

Uber and Lyft once promised a lowering of drunken driving incidents by over saturating markets with so many drivers that drunken driving would be an impossibility.

Since 2015 Uber has maintained heavy donations with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to promote the idea that Rideshare (TNC) companies like Uber and Lyft are drastically lowering drunken driving incidents.

From MADD wesbite:


“Rideshare saves lives!

78% people agree that their friends are less likely to drive drunk with options like Uber. MADD/Uber 2015 report
93% recommend their friends take Uber instead of driving if they’d been drinking alcohol
7% decrease, roughly of drunk driving in cities with rideshare options “

-MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Notice the term ‘ROUGHLY‘ used in MADD’s estimation of lower drunk driving incidents.

The fact is that drunken driving incidents HAVE NOT been limited, curbed or otherwise lowered by the existence of rideshare (TNC) services such as Uber and Lyft.

In 2014 MADD and Uber announced their first partnership. Since the announcement MADD has stated that drunk driving incidents have decreased as a result of available Uber services.

In 2010, before Uber and Lyft were available in most major cities in the us, there were 10,228 drunken driving related deaths that year.
In 2015, one year AFTER the partnership announcement by Uber and MADD and with Uber and Lyft now operating in most major US cities in that time there were 10,265 drunken driving related deaths that year.
In 2016 there were 10,497 drunken driving related deaths.
In 2017 there were 10,874 drunken driving related deaths.

Source: US DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Many recent studies have indicated that there is no viable data to conclude that the existence of rideshare companies has in any way lowered the actual rate of drunk driving.

Most especially since the rate of drunk driving related deaths have not reduced at all but in fact increased at a steady rate since Uber and Lyft began operations in most major cities.

Just this week, an Uber driver in the Woodlands’ Texas area was arrested for driving under the influence while transporting customers.


Out of control crime and an epidemic of sexual assaults

The Ride Safe Database has collected incident reports from Taxi and Rideshare (UBer & Lyft) operations beginning in 2014. The primary summation of this database is the Stultz Report, which is the world’s most comprehensive database of all incidents reported in the media concerning crimes committed by Rideshare (TNC) drivers and Taxi drivers comparatively.

In January, Uber reported that their own incident intake workers were addressing up to 1200 incident complains weekly with several hundred among them concerning sexual assault incidents.

The over all rate of crime and sexual assaults against young women using Uber and Lyft services is far higher than previously estimated BEFORE Uber and Lyft finally released more of their incidental statistics shortly before becoming publicly traded companies.

The rates of sexual assaults with Uber and Lyft are also far higher in just ONE year of Operations in the United States than the combined taxi companies of North America, The United Kingdom and Canada in over TWENTY years of operations.

Pleading and threats

Through years of this madness, state and local regulators across the US have begun to enforce tighter regulations.

New York has enacted a cap on the number of rideshare vehicles in operation and has promised this year to expand the limits further, along with wage rights for drivers.

Uber and Lyft actually went so far as to offer a bribe of relief aid to their drivers in order for New York regulators to drop their plans to enact a fair wage law on behalf of rideshare drivers.

In California Uber and Lyft have lobbied heavily against recently proposed legislation that would reflect New York on capping rideshare vehicles and respecting rideshare drivers as employees entitled to wage and collective bargaining rights.

Both Uber and Lyft have threatened that enacting such laws would remove them from profitability and thus, the market entirely.

Section- 9 Statement from Ride Safe

Through out each generation as civilization progresses and regresses we stand to either embolden our Humanity or suffer the consequences of thoughtlessly developing social and technological changes which violate the liberty and prosperity of the masses.

Uber, Lyft and other app based ‘on demand’, ‘sharring economy’ or ‘gig’ business companies are very plainly an example of the thoughtless development of technology applied in a way which violates the liberty of those who use it and the general economic development of the world.

We are first and foremost an effort to protect the general public from this violation of liberty. We are activists, commercial transportation authorities, former rideshare drivers, current rideshare drivers, taxi/Cab drivers, former taxi/Cab drivers, customers and members of the general public who work to put an end to fraud and confidence scams like uber.

We are not affiliated with or funded by any commercial or political interests, transportation company or taxi/cab company.

Contributors:

Prepared by Ride Safe International Inc, 501c3 Non-profit.

Justin La Plante

Sean Stultz

Julie Arnoldi

Jason Richard