Uber Sued by Aliso Viejo Customer Alleging Safety Shortcomings; OC Drivers Make $100k?

An Aliso Viejo customer is suing Uber for allegedly misleading riders about how safe the service is, according to litigation filed in Northern California.

(Gut this post out to the end if you want to find how many Orange County trips it takes for an Uber driver to make $100,000 a year.)

Jacob Sabatino, who is represented by MLG Automotive Law of Newport Beach, is the lone named plaintiff on the class-action suit that alleges Uber has no training program, offers no oversight or supervision of its drivers and that its "industry-leading" background checks on drivers are outsourced to a third party.

"We do not want to see the company shut down," says Jonathan Michaels, the founding member of MLG Automotive Law, in a statement. "Its fault lies not in its concept, but in its execution. Uber is a wonderful service; it just needs to be made safe."

According to the complaint filed against San Francisco-based Uber Technologies in U.S. District Court in Northern California: "Uber does not guarantee the suitability, safety or ability of third party providers ... By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third party providers arranged or scheduled using the service is at your own risk and judgment. Uber shall not have any liability arising from or in any way related to your transactions or relationship with third party providers."

Uber's marketing materials routinely make unsubstantiated statements meant to lull potential customers into a false sense of security, according to the complaint that cites numerous promotional materials on the Uber website.

Sabatino's is not the only safety-related litigation against Uber. A woman who says an Uber Technologies driver in India's capital of Delhi raped her during a ride is suing the company in U.S. federal court, Reuters reports. Her suit, which claims that Uber did not maintain basic safety procedures in hiring the driver, seeks unspecified damages, the addition of video cameras in Uber cars, 24-hour customer support and other safety upgrades.

Uber has not yet commented on Sabatino's lawsuit but told Reuters it is cooperating with Delhi authorities on the investigation there. "Our deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime," says the company in a statement that did not address the lawsuit directly.

Meanwhile, NerdWallet.com recently conducted a study on rideshare drivers that found the average Uber charge is $16.07 per ride in Orange County and that an Uber driver can cover their car ownership costs by making just 6.86 trips per week.

There are NerdWallet comparisons for cities across the country and in each city for the competing Uber, Lyft and Sidecar services. With the average annual insurance premium $988.94 in Orange County and yearly ownerships costs of a 2014 Toyota Camry $12,092.12, NerdWallet found:

The average Uber trip fare is $16.07, the number of weekly trips needed to recoup the insurance premium is 1.18, the number of weekly trips needed to recoup ownership costs is 6.86, the number of trips needed weekly to make $50,000 a year is 59.83, for $75,000 it's 89.75 and for $100,000 it's 119.67.

For Lyft: $11.22 (average trip fare); 2.01 (weekly trips to recoup insurance); 8.49 (weekly trips to recoup ownership costs); 85.70 (weekly trips to make $50k a year); 128.55 ($75k); 171.40 ($100k).

Sidecar: $12.39 (average trip fare); 1.82 (weekly trips to recoup insurance); 7.69 (weekly trips to recoup ownership costs); 77.61 (weekly trips to make $50k a year); 116.41 ($75k); 155.21 ($100k).

Check out the graphic on the next page ...

Uber Sued by Aliso Viejo Customer Alleging Safety Shortcomings; OC Drivers Make $100k?

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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