It is a perfect example of the way in which ride-hailing companies, in a market where there is no central authority to police them, can easily abuse their position.
Uber and its competitors have been known to hide their users’ whereabouts and refuse to remove drivers who use their services illegally.
This is a pattern that has been well documented by independent researchers, with a recent study showing that Uber and Lyft, the two companies most responsible for driving the growth of ride-sharing, were responsible for more than 2,600 drivers’ deaths in 2017.
For Uber, this has meant that their competitors have had to resort to less ethical means to ensure the safety of their users, including withholding drivers’ names from drivers’ Uber profile pages.
But there is one company that is not using these tactics: Milwaukee Burger Company.
In a letter sent to Uber, the restaurant chain accused the company of not doing enough to protect drivers and passengers from ride-sharers.
The letter, which was obtained by TechRadars sister publication WTMJ, accused Uber of “sabotaging the safety and well-being of Milwaukee Burger Drivers”.
“Uber and its drivers are taking the safety, welfare and well being of the customers of Milwaukee Restaurants and their patrons as their personal priority and are putting the safety in our care at risk for their own personal gain,” the letter said.
In response to the letter, Uber said that it had already “deployed our team to monitor Uber drivers in Milwaukee Burger locations and we are committed to doing so”.
“We take this situation very seriously and are working to address it,” the company said in a statement.
“In the meantime, we have deployed an independent safety monitor to review every Uber driver in Milwaukee.”
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, the city of Milwaukee has been taking steps to address the growing number of drivers who are using ride-booking apps, in an attempt to ensure that the city is not at risk of the same problem that is plaguing Milwaukee Burger.
Under a new law passed in September, Uber drivers will be required to be fingerprinted by the city and drivers will have to have a “safe driving history” signed by a licensed police officer.
“These laws will ensure that Milwaukee is the safest city in America and that all drivers are held accountable,” Mayor Tom Barrett said in the statement.
Uber, meanwhile, has been quick to respond to the criticisms of its actions, with CEO Travis Kalanick telling reporters that the company “will continue to protect its drivers and our passengers”.
“These safety measures are a necessary first step to ensure safety of our drivers and riders, and we look forward to working with the city to improve safety for all,” Kalanik said.
“Safety is an absolute priority for us at Uber and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to make Milwaukee a safer city.”