Uber Rolls Out Anti-Bias Feature in Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) – Making its debut during the gay pride festival in Amsterdam, ride-hailing giant Uber announced a new feature just for customers in the Netherlands: reporting discrimination by both drivers and passengers.

Uber headquarters in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The move came after the San Francisco-based company received a complaint from Jennifer Hopelezz, an Amsterdam-based drag queen, who was denied a ride from an Uber driver.

“I felt angry, hurt and humiliated,” Hopelezz said.

This incident wasn’t the first time she had been refused a ride. During Amsterdam’s 2018 gay pride celebrations, Hopelezz, then the pride ambassador, was denied service from a taxi company. That incident was filmed and shared on Facebook.

Hopelezz has a history with activism and used the attention from last year’s incident to push for taxi companies in the Dutch capital to sign a non-discrimination agreement. All of the city’s taxi companies, Uber and the city government signed the declaration of intent earlier this month, ahead of the start of the 2019 gay pride festivities.

“We want everyone who gets into a taxi in Amsterdam to feel welcome and be able to be themselves. There is no room for discrimination,” Amsterdam Alderperson Sharon Dijksma, of Traffic and Transport, Water and Air Quality said in a statement.

But only a few weeks later, Hopelezz was denied a ride by an Uber driver.

Amsterdam-based drag queen Jennifer Hopelezz appears in an Uber awareness campaign video, saying, “If I want to take a taxi, I am often not even picked up.” (Photo via Uber)

Hopelezz then met with representatives from Uber and the company decided to introduce the new reporting feature. Under the subcategory of complaints in the Uber app, both passengers and drivers can now specifically report discrimination, as well as dangerous driving, refusing stops and abuse.

“Until now, passengers could not report discrimination through a separate category. Discrimination was covered by, for example, safety or unpleasant experience,” Uber said in a statement.

Alongside the new feature, Uber also launched an awareness campaign for drivers which included a video with Hopelezz. Richard Keldoulis, as Hopelezz is known in her day-to-day life, says, “There is, unfortunately, still discrimination in Amsterdam.”

Uber says drivers or passengers can be warned or banned from the service if they are found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior.

If the feature is successful in the Netherlands, Uber plans to launch it worldwide.

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