The Uber driver who allegedly assaulted and tried to kiss a female passenger this week still has his Taxi & Limousine Commission license, which the TLC claims is thanks to a rule that allows hacks to keep their licenses if assaults aren't reported to 311. But Uber says that not only has a complaint been filed with 311, the victim reported the incident to the TLC itself, calling into question why the driver's license has yet to be suspended.
Yesterday, we reported that a 31-year-old woman who fell asleep in her Uber cab allegedly awoke to find her driver touching her face; he then tried to kiss her, according to her report. She alerted Uber, who disconnected him from the app, preventing him to pick up another fare through the company. She also contacted the NYPD, who are considering the case a sexual assault.
TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg says that the driver still has his hack license, thanks to a rule [pdf] that doesn't require Uber to report allegedly abusive drivers to the commission. "[R]ating the driver through an app may have the effect of getting them tossed off that app's platform, but they can easily go to another base," Fromberg told us in an email. "Uber’s priority may be to push that driver off their plate onto someone else’s, but the TLC’s would be to take him out of the industry altogether."
But Uber says they advised the victim to contact 311, and a source close to the company tells us a report had indeed been filed as of yesterday. Indeed, though it's best to notify 311 about all cabbie complaints, it can take the TLC time to resolve a complaint—a recent study [pdf] found it took an average of 55 days to resolve such a complaint—and an Uber spokesperson pointed out that the company moved immediately to suspend this week's accused driver from their platform. Uber says the rider reported to them that she already filed a complaint with the TLC.
Still, the TLC is working to require Uber and other apps to report potential criminal activity directly to the commission, but for now, Fromberg says passengers looking to report a driver should do so by contacting 311, either by phone or online, thus making it possible for the TLC to suspend his or her cabbie license. Victims of criminal activity should, of course, also contact the NYPD.