More women drive for Uber than for taxis, data shows

Uber's workforce has a greater proportion of female drivers than that of traditional taxi companies, a study commissioned by Uber has found.

The statistic is part of a trove of Uber driver demographic data released by the San Francisco-based transit company last week, and revelations aplenty are in the midst of being analyzed from the long report.

As The San Franisco Examiner reported last week, the study was conducted by Jonathan Hall, head of policy research at Uber technologies, along with Alan Krueger, a Princeton University professor of economics and public affairs and former member of President Barack Obama's cabinet.

The pair used anonymized internal Uber data, as well as a survey of more than 600 drivers, and the study was commissioned to highlight Uber's affordability.

Women make up 14 percent of Uber's driver partners, which is what the app-based company calls its drivers, whereas women make up 8 percent of traditional taxi drivers.

“Women driver-partners were more likely than men to highlight the need for flexibility as a reason for becoming a partner with Uber, but both men and women appear to value the opportunity to set their own schedule,” the study wrote.

And those women were much more likely than men to work less than 15 hours a week. The study found that there are about 11,000 active Uber drivers in San Francisco, and many are part-timers working fewer than 34 hours per week.

Uber's improved gender parity may be welcome news, as it comes on the heels of more rocky reports of women riding in Uber cars.

In France, Uber ads sporting lingerie-clad women offered to pair riders with “hot chicks” who are drivers, sparking an outcry. At one point, an Uber company blog post also analyzed driver data to see who was using the service for their “walk of shame,” referencing leaving a date's home in the morning.

Closer to home, late last year UberX driver Martin Hynek of Berkeley was cited for battery against a woman as he allegedly pulled her out of her car and smashed her phone, according to news reports late last year. A San Francisco Uber driver in September was suspected of harassing three women riders.

“Now, as a woman, I don't feel safe to go out and try to take these rides home,” one of the harassed women, Caitlin Taylor, told KGO (Ch. 7). “I don't know what's going to happen to me.”

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