On July 13, three Uber drivers in Los Angeles were arrested for giving women unarranged rides
conducted an exclusive interview with Uber drivers Roy Freeman, Michael Chadwick and Sid Lomeli to get their take on what happened.
All three Uber drivers were enjoying the beginning of their Friday night rush until each of them were separately flagged down by distressed women who were in dire need of transportation.
“A lady vigorously waved me down,” Freeman said.
“I almost thought she maybe needed help or something,” Chadwick said.
The three men claim that the only reason they were flagged down in the first place was because of the popular “U” logo that rests on their windshields.
When they pulled over to see what the commotion was, the women were quick to demand a ride despite the fact that they were not signed up with the Uber service.
“She said, ‘Uber?!’” according to Lomeli. “I said, ‘Yeah, Uber.'”
“Then the girl opened my back door.” She said, “Come on, I really need to go to this place. I really need to go, please.”
Ridesharing drivers, including limousines, are subject to arrest if the the ride is not pre-arranged. A driver who fails to abide by this rule is called a “bandit cab.”
Freeman, Chadwick and Lomeli had been cleverly infiltrated by the LAPD for bandit cab driving. They had their cars impounded and were arrested on the spot.
“My door was open and, next thing I know, the cops are behind with the sirens on,” Chadwick said.
All three drivers say that they have never solicited rides and further their point by saying that their customer ratings are nearly perfect.
While the three men claim the scheme was entrapment, Steve Meister, a legal analyst, says that even Uber drivers can be considered bandit cabs if they accept ride fairs under the table. He said:
“It’s not safe and it’s bad for business. There’s no accountability for the passenger. There’s no accountability for the driver. And so there has to be regulation in this business.”
The three men are currently trying to get their vehicles back, but they were very disappointed in the series of events that led to their arrest.
“Bluntly, I think it’s very cruel,” Chadwick said. “This could have been handled in a much better way. This is going to set me back bad.”
“I was made to feel like a criminal,” explained Lomeli.