- At least 16 Uber drivers were killed in Brazil before the company rolled out increased safety measures.
- That’s according to the new book “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” set to be released next month.
- The book chronicles the rise of Uber over the past decade, as well as the fight for its future amid the ouster of its founder.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
One of Uber’s biggest initial advantages over taxis was a cashless payment experience.
But in many emerging markets, the ride-hailing giant accepted and continued to accept cash. It’s caused plenty of headaches.
In Brazil, Mike Isaac reports in “Super Pumped” a book about Uber’s first 10 years, set to publish September 3, passengers would play “Uber roulette.” Because the app didn’t require any identity verification beyond an email or phone number, anyone could create an account to hail a car. That’s when chaos ensued:
“Vehicles were stolen and burned; drivers were assaulted, robbed and occasionally murdered,” according to an excerpt published by the New York Times on Friday. “The company stuck with the low-friction sign-up system, even as violence increased.”
Throughout the violent episodes, former CEO Travis Kalanick and Ed Baker, who had been hired from Facebook to grow the company’s South American presence, maintained that Uber was safer than a traditional cab because the rides could be tracked via GPS, according to the excerpt.
In total, at least 16 drivers were murdered, Isaac reports. Finally, Uber rolled out an improved identity verification service and increased security in its app for Brazilian customers.
“Mr. Kalanick and other Uber executives were not totally indifferent to the dangers drivers faced in emerging markets,” the excerpt says. “But they had major blind spots because of their fixation on growth, their belief in technological solutions, and a casual application of financial incentives that often inflamed existing cultural problems.”
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