Black riders have to wait “significantly longer” for their Uber cabs and experience “double” the cancellation rates of white passengers, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study, which also observed a similar pattern among Lyft drivers, claims it has found “significant evidence of racial discrimination” in ride-hailing services based on a pair of experiments in Seattle and Boston. From a report on Time: Researchers pulled data from more than 1,400 field tests conducted using mostly Uber and Lyft, but also traditional taxi services. The findings in Boston and Seattle showed evidence of discrimination that manifested in either longer waits or a higher likelihood for cancellation. In Seattle, African-American UberX users on average waited 5 minutes and 15 seconds for pick-ups — roughly 30% longer than white riders, who waited 4 minutes on average. Lyft users did not experience a significant difference during the experiment. When the research assistants switched between using white-sounding and African-American-sounding names, they did not find a significant increase in their wait times. But the overall rates at which drivers canceled the ride after it was assigned to them was more than one in 10 for riders with black-sounding names, roughly double than for riders with white-sounding names.
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