Monday, March 21, 2016

Lyft driver refuses to provide service: "I don't pick up from SE, sorry"

The saga of Southeast DC residents being denied service continues. This time a Lyft driver is in the hot seat. 

The following is a screen shot of a text chat between an east of the river resident and the Lyft driver that ultimately refused her service.

Says the consumer in a Facebook response to Lyft: 

Hi Lyft, your online customer service reps haven't been particularly concerned about the blatantly illegal behavior of your driver last night. I'm taking it up with the Office of Human Rights in DC - check out D.C. Code $ 50-329 (j): "A private vehicle-for-hire company shall:...Establish a policy of zero tolerance for discrimination or discriminatory conduct...Discriminatory conduct may include:...(iii) Refusal of service based on the pickup or drop-off location of the passenger..."

For those of us who live east of the Anacostia River receiving basic services can be quite the struggle.  Many of the new "delivery services" will deliver within DC (and often times Maryland and Virginia) but exclude service to wards 7 and 8. I've covered the many difficulties of trying to catch a cab to/from Southeast. I even went so far as to provide 10 rules on how to get taxi service while Black and living in Southeast. So when Lyft and Uber came online if finally seemed as if we were having some small measure of success. I even took an Uber a few weeks back to a happy hour downtown and I was pleasantly pleased with the service. It seemed as if some small measure of progress had been made. 

But now, as the screenshot above states we still have a long way to go in dispelling stereotypes and out and out discrimination. Also from Facebook was a snapshot of a Facebook post from a rideshare contractor:

I've put forth the idea numerous times that DC government should fund a special marketing campaign specifically at education the public about the realities of living east of the river and the wonderful people that call this place home. It would also do well the educate people that this type of bias is not only illegal in many cases but frankly is an affront to humanity. 

This was the reason that David Garber and I started the #SoutheastLove campaign several years ago. We wanted to show people that the Southeast quadrant (both sides of the Anacostia River) is deserving of all the benefits, rights, and privileges afforded all DC residents. In fact, that was my primary goal in starting this blog eight years ago and why I am constantly highlighting southeast misconceptions. 

Former Anacostia, Now blogger and At-Large Council Candidate David Garber
Nikki Peele AKA The Advoc8te representing my  #SoutheastLove 
The Anacostia neighborhood has plenty of #SoutheastLove! 

It seems that there is still a long way to go. And not just the type of distance that requires a Lyft driver. 

The Advoc8te is hoping that Lyft not only educates their drivers that this type of bias is unacceptable but that we can take steps to educate and inform all of their drivers and frankly, some of their riders too.

Maybe it is time for a Lyft/#SoutheastLove collaboration?

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