A Year Later, Lyft Continues to Redline in Minneapolis

The StarTribune has an article today about Uber and Lyft drivers canceling a larger number of pickup requests among prospective passengers in North Minneapolis than in other parts of the city.

City business license manager Grant Wilson said city officials will pose as “secret shoppers” to test Uber and Lyft in underserved areas of the city.

Wilson made the decision after reviewing new information revealing that drivers for these ride-hailing services tend to prefer high-traffic and high-profit areas, like downtown, and are less likely to venture to north Minneapolis.

What’s particularly goofy about this is Minneapolis’ apparent willingness to allow Lyft to redline tens of thousands of North Minneapolis residents by not just reactively denying them service, but proactively doing so.

For example, here is what Lyft’s app looks like for people requesting a car from the 3400 block of Colfax Ave N:

2015-08-06 17.25.04

But, if I go to the 3700 block of Dupont (20 blocks south of the city’s border with Brooklyn Center) the cars disappear:

2015-08-06 17.24.57

That’s proactive refusal of service to city residents.

If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because I wrote about it last year in June. Nothing’s been done about it.

It doesn’t take secret shoppers to see this form of redlining. The problem is far larger than a particular driver denying a fare based on location. The entire service denies fares based on location.

Or, as Lyft puts it:

“If they are in our coverage area, we will do our best to supply rides,” said Danyelle Ludwig, a Lyft spokeswoman.

It’s not discrimination, you see. It’s a coverage area that just happens to not cover all Minneapolis residents. And, it’s not redlining, you see. They happen to use green lines:

Screenshot 2015-08-06 12.38.23

It doesn’t take secret shoppers to see how Lyft treats North Minneapolis residents. Their own coverage area map illustrates their discriminatory behavior.

4 thoughts on “A Year Later, Lyft Continues to Redline in Minneapolis”

  1. Looks to The Rat like there’s a possibility of a Northside Lyft and Uber operation for an enterprising entrepreneur.

    Are you in favor of the city to forcing drivers into an area that they might feel unsafe? Is there a history of fare-jumping there?

  2. @Rat

    “341.170. – Duty to accept passengers.
    No driver shall refuse or neglect to convey any orderly person or persons upon request anywhere in the city unless previously engaged, provided that such person agrees to pay the legal rate of fare. No taxicab driver shall refuse or fail to provide services to any person protected under the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances section 139.10. No taxicab driver shall carry any other passenger than the person first employing the taxicab, except with the express consent of the first passenger or passengers. (88-Or-004, § 5, 1-15-88; 2014-Or-036, § 4, 7-18-14)”

    https://www.municode.com/library/mn/minneapolis/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_TIT13LIBURE_CH341TA_ARTIATADRCO_341.170DUACPA

  3. Just logged into Uber and found many cars waiting up and down Lyndale, Dowling, and Lowry, all within 5-8 blocks of 34th and James ave N. Time for a ride was 6 min for UberX and no more than 10 for any of the other services. Keep in mind, this is 10:30 pm on a Friday evening. If there ever would be a time to not have cars available, it would be now.

  4. @JW:

    Fine, handsome language. That’s for sure.

    My question has not been answered completely, at least not in my estimation. I suppose the law is the law and if a few Lyft or Uber drivers take it in the shorts, well, that’s life in the Big City.

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