Uber, Lyft algorithms charged users more for trips to non-white neighborhoods: study

A new study suggests that Uber's and Lyft's algorithms charge higher rates to customers in non-white neighborhoods

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June 21, 2020

A recent study suggests that the algorithm used by popular ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft may actually discriminate against customers seeking transportation in predominantly non-white neighborhoods.

Aylin Caliskan and Akshat Pandey at George Washington University in Washington DC analyzed transportation and census data in Chicago in a paper that assessed whether there was a racial disparity in how much passengers were charged based on location. Their data set included more than 100 million trips between November 2018 and December 2019, with 68 million of them being made by individual riders.

What they found is that the ride-hailing companies charged higher price per mile for a trip if either the destination or pick-up point has a higher percentage of non-white residents, low-income residents or high education residents.

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