Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

Uber to Allow Prostitutes, Other Non-Violent Offenders to Drive

Move could "steer people away from a life of crime."

 

December 3, 2016

Uber to Allow Prostitutes, Other Non-Violent Offenders to Drive

California voters recently approved prison reforms intended to release non-violent offenders. Consistent with that movement, Ridesharing application provider Uber has announced that it will allow ex-prostitutes and other non violent convicted offenders to drive. This is with the blessing of California authorities.

Uber's new standards have already taken effect in California and will begin in Connecticut on January 1, 2017. Former sex workers and those convicted of harassment, resisting arrest, petty theft or minor property damage will all be allowed to drive for the first time.

On his Facebook page, founder Travis Kalanick wrote: "Millions of Americans have served their time and want to earn an honest living. To break the cycle of recidivism, we need to give them a second chance."

In the US, convicted sex offenders must register everywhere they go. This "Mark of Cain" law gives a nomadic existence to their lives. Someone convicted of a "sex offense" as a teenager may have trouble finding work the rest of his or her life. This rule change is no less than a miracle from the perspective of a convicted sex offender.

It is interesting to note that Travis Kalanick is himself a convicted felon, having been convicted of operating an illegal taxi service in South Korea and other jurisdictions. http://www.businessinsider.com/south-korea-charges-uber-ceo-travis-kalanick-2015-3

Travis Kalanick, Uber founder. Uber to Allow Prostitutes, Other Non-Violent Offenders to Drive

Uber Technologies Inc. is an American worldwide online transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile "app", which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request, which the software program then automatically sends to the Uber driver nearest to the consumer, alerting the driver to the location of the customer. Uber drivers use their own personal cars.

As of August 2016, the service was available in over 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide. The Uber app automatically calculates the fare and transfers the payment to the driver. Since Uber's launch, several other companies have replicated its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as "Uberification".

The legality of Uber has been challenged by governments and taxi companies, who allege that its use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs is unsafe and illegal; some taxi driver unions have called Uber drivers "pirate taxis". However it is now common for taxi drivers to also work for Uber; especially during "surge" periods when they can earn multiple time what they would under the taxi umbrella.

 

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