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My Phlatbed Driver was Transgender, and She was AWESOME!

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AstonDE
94 Rider Driver
 Posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Many ride hailing apps lack options for transgender drivers, and some end up getting kicked off the apps at no fault of their own. For example, transgender drivers across the country are finding their Uber accounts either temporarily or permanently suspended due to an Uber security feature that requires drivers to take a selfie to verify their identity. If the photo doesn't come back as a match to other photos on file, it will get flagged.

Trans folks in ride hailing

A CNBC report documented Janey Webb's experience as an Uber driver as follows:

Janey Webb began transitioning her gender around the time she started working for Uber in October 2017. Since then, her physical appearance has changed quite a bit. For another job that might not be a huge issue, but for Uber drivers a drastic change in appearance raises an algorithmic red flag.

"I was all ready to [drive for] Uber. I drove downtown, and the only reason I knew I was deactivated was because I couldn't get back online."

Webb was prompted to call Uber support, which told her the account had been deactivated because one of her photos did not match her driver's license on file.

Webb then had to drive two hours to Uber's only in-person support center in her home state of Iowa, called a Greenlight Hub. There she explained her gender transition and was told the deactivation was a mistake. However, she was not assured that the same thing couldn't happen again if she uploads a new photo.

"A trans person can't be expected to update their license every three months or so just to avoid being deactivated," Webb said.

In total the ordeal took Webb out of work for around three days, one of which was July 4, a big moneymaking day for drivers. Uber dr...

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Many ride hailing apps lack options for transgender drivers, and some end up getting kicked off the apps at no fault of their own. For example, transgender drivers across the country are finding their Uber accounts either temporarily or permanently suspended due to an Uber security feature that requires drivers to take a selfie to verify their identity. If the photo doesn't come back as a match to other photos on file, it will get flagged.

Trans folks in ride hailing

A CNBC report documented Janey Webb's experience as an Uber driver as follows:

Janey Webb began transitioning her gender around the time she started working for Uber in October 2017. Since then, her physical appearance has changed quite a bit. For another job that might not be a huge issue, but for Uber drivers a drastic change in appearance raises an algorithmic red flag.

"I was all ready to [drive for] Uber. I drove downtown, and the only reason I knew I was deactivated was because I couldn't get back online."

Webb was prompted to call Uber support, which told her the account had been deactivated because one of her photos did not match her driver's license on file.

Webb then had to drive two hours to Uber's only in-person support center in her home state of Iowa, called a Greenlight Hub. There she explained her gender transition and was told the deactivation was a mistake. However, she was not assured that the same thing couldn't happen again if she uploads a new photo.

"A trans person can't be expected to update their license every three months or so just to avoid being deactivated," Webb said.

In total the ordeal took Webb out of work for around three days, one of which was July 4, a big moneymaking day for drivers. Uber drivers are technically independent contractors, and Webb was not reimbursed for the time she was unable to work. 

An Uber spokesperson said the company rolled out a feature in April that allows employees to specify their pronouns in an internal directory. However, the feature is not yet available to riders and drivers.

"We want Uber to be a welcoming, safe and respectful experience for all who use the app," an Uber spokeswoman told CNBC. "That's why we maintain clear community guidelines and a nondiscrimination policy for riders and drivers, in addition to many safety features. We continue to focus on ways to advance our tech and constantly improve our app experience."

My recent experience (last weekend) with a Phlatbed driver was an eye opener. Jamie R. was my ondemand moving driver. By default I assumed he was male. Afterall, he had a bid red Ford truck, 4 star rating, had completed 4 ondemand deliveries, and was going to move a shelf to my sisters house about 30 minutes away. Best of all he was going to do this for $100!

Well, upon arrival at the agreed time, not only was Jamie punctual but she was courteous and very friendly. She took notice, and with a disarming smile she said "I'm Jamie, nice to meet you". She did a fantastic job, and we struck up conversation around transgender representation among the ondemand platforms. Her experience was no different from Janey Webb's in the CNBC report above. With Phlatbed, she said it's been inclusive and there are no surprises as she had encountered with Uber. "Being transgendered puts you under different lenses, and in many cases you don't know what will happen during or after any trip. But with Phlatbed there are no surprises. The pre-screening is thorough and once you're in you're in. They have a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who misbehaves, once and done. I haven't had any issues with Phlatbed." said Jamie.

The on-demand moving and delivery market differs from the regular ride hailing market. One moves people, the other moves stuff. Notwithstanding, gender should never be an issue whether you're a rider, ridee, or inbetween.

Cheers!

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Comments

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    TinaT
    13
     1 year ago

    Great stuff. I don't get the big deal about transgenders, do what you got to do! You live your life and Ill live mine.

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    RedANT
    1075 Rider Driver
     1 year ago

    I don't get what the problem is.  If their appearance changes, why the hell don't they update the photo on file?  Why all the extra drama?  Is everyone else supposed to change because they can't be bothered to update necessary information?