By Tina Bellon
(Reuters) – Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday said it had received more than 3,000 reports of sexual assault, including rape, related to its trips in the United States in 2018, at a time when it operated roughly 1.3 billion rides.
Uber said https://www.uber-assets.com/image/upload/v1575580686/Documents/Safety/UberUSSafetyReport_201718_FullReport.pdf the 2018 figures represented a 16% drop in the rate of incidents from the previous year in the five most serious categories of sexual assault reported.
The company also said that reports of assaults on passengers overlooked the risks for drivers. Riders in fact accounted for roughly half of the accused parties in cases of sexual assault, it said.
Sexual assault and other threats have been a concern broadly for the fast-growing ride-services industry around the world.
The report comes as Uber is under pressure from regulators in many cities, including London which recently rescinded the company’s license to carry passengers over a “pattern of failures” on safety and security.
Uber said the 84-page report showed its commitment to transparency with the goal of driving “accountability and improve safety for Uber and the entire industry.”
Uber said 99.9% of all of its 2.3 billion U.S. trips in 2017 and 2018 ended without any safety incidents.
Uber operates in about 70 countries and said that it would use what it had learned in producing the U.S. report for its “next steps” in other places, although it did not commit to creating new reports.
The U.S. report said there were nine fatal physical assaults in 2018, down from 10 in 2017, and that of the total over those two years, eight were riders, seven were drivers using the Uber app, and four were third parties such as bystanders.
Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi in tweets said the company would be better off for publishing the data.
“I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common. Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right,” Khosrowshahi wrote.
(Reporting by Tina Bellon; Writing by Peter Henderson and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Chris Reese and Christopher Cushing)