WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Racial discrimination exists in ride-sharing service provided by companies like Uber and Lyft in the United States, as it is more difficult for black people to get a ride and more likely for them to have a trip canceled, according to a study by U.S. researchers.
The discovery made by scholars at the MIT, Stanford and the University of Washington revealed that black passengers in the city of Seattle had to wait as much as 35 percent longer to get a ride confirmed through Uber app than white passengers.
In Boston, black male passengers to hail rides were three times as possible to have their trips canceled by Uber drivers than white male passengers, said the study released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Sending passengers to hail nearly 1,500 rides in the two cities, the researchers also found that male passengers using black-sounding names who requested Uber rides in low-density areas were more than three times likely to get a refusal by drivers than male riders using white-sounding names.
The study showed that black riders waited a shorter time if they chose Lyft, Uber's close competitor, although the discrimination was still detectable.
But it may be just due to Lyft's different systematic design which allows drivers to see a rider's name and photo before accepting a request, the study added. Prejudiced drivers can rule out black riders before initiating the accepting-and-canceling process.
"There is no way to know if an individual decision by a driver was discriminatory," a co-author of the study Stephen Zoepf told the Washington Post. "It's really only in the aggregate that you can see the patterns."
Both Uber and Lyft claim they have strong nondiscrimination guidelines for their drivers.