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AZ Tech Beat | November 24, 2017

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Valley transit services weigh-in on UBER’s gun-free zone

Valley transit services weigh-in on UBER’s gun-free zone
Tishin Donkersley

On-demand transit services are in the spotlight for their safety policies-with a particular focus on gun-free zones.

In lieu of an incident where a Chicago UBER driver put his concealed weapon permit to use and shot at a man who opened fire on a group of people in Logan Square, according to the Chicago Sun Times, UBER has since banned firearms in its cars for drivers and passengers.

While the 2nd Amendment was at the forefront of debates as a result of the UBER ban, a local gun law expert said the company can require a gun-free zone.

UBER.com

UBER.com

 

According to a report by CBS 5 News, “Attorney Marc Victor, (a gun owner) who specializes in firearms law, says UBER has every right to ban guns in its cars. ‘There’s no government issue or Second Amendment issue,’ he said. ‘This is private action by a private corporation, and they absolutely have the right to ban guns.”

UBER’s competitor LYFT already had a strict no guns policy in place.

We reached out to Arizona transit companies to share their safety policies and if they have a gun-free zone.

TotalTransitBill Blair, Total Transit Director of Operations, said they provide safety training to their drivers and require their contractors to be weapon-free-but passengers could still transport a gun.

“Our top priority at Total Transit is the safety of both our passengers and our drivers,” Blair said. “As such, our independent contractor drivers are instructed not to have weapons inside the vehicle at any time.”

Total Transit runs three services, Discount Cab, luxury transit and RideShare. “Our drivers are also trained to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations – for themselves or their passenger. [Drivers] are trained to safely respond including the use of an emergency button, located in every Discount Cab, which alerts us and law enforcement if our driver or passenger is in any danger,” Blair said.

Currently passengers can carry a gun in their vehicles. “Total Transit does not have a policy against passengers carrying a weapon, but our drivers are not required to transport any passenger if they feel there is a safety concern,” Blair said.

Jeff Ericson, CEO and founder Ruby Ride, a subscription-based transportation service, said they are going to be reviewing their safety policies in light of recent incidents at UBER.

Ruby ride logo“After tens of thousands of trips, we haven’t had the issue come up even once. We don’t have a policy in place – in light of the current incidents, we will be taking a closer look at this,” Ericson said.

As for the safety of their drivers, “We extensively background check and train our drivers. Those two factors combine to make a generally safe environment even safer,” Ericson said.

Read more about RideShare services in Arizona