The list of ride-hailing companies that are run by people who aren’t total assholes keeps shrinking.
Update Monday June 22, 2020 1:50 p.m Charges against Syed Zain Gilani were dismissed February 14, 2020. There is an ongoing appeals process, according to the Virgin Island Daily News.
CEO of Safr, a ride-sharing service focused on women’s safety, was arrested inside of his company’s headquarters in Boston for a fugitive from justice warrant. Chief executive Syed Zain Gilani is wanted in the Virgin Islands for defrauding its government of more than $2 million.
Virgin Islands Department of Justice officials told The Boston Globe that Gilani and two others pretended to implement federally mandated updates to ID cards for three years while pocketing grant money.
“It’s got nothing to do with Safr whatsoever. That I can say categorically,” said Gilani’s attorney, Eoin Beirne, told the Globe on Tuesday.
“We want to make sure that women feel safe during anytime of the day or night as a rider and as a driver. And in the end, they feel empowered and new and new women join the ride-sharing market,” Gilani told NPR in April.
In essence, Gilani sought to make a ride-hailing service to protect women from bad guys, but he himself turned out to be a bad guy. (Plot twist!)
Ride-hailing services have had a bit of a terrible people problem as of late. Uber was investigated for sexual harassment in the workplace, fired an executive for carrying around medical records of a rape victim, used secret tools to track drivers — you name it. Lyft has supported efforts to kill a Seattle ordinance that allowed for drivers to unionize, and supposedly “driver-friendly” service Juno was sued by drivers for deceiving drivers with an equity program that dissolved after other “driver-friendly” service Gett acquired the company.
What next? Who from the ride-hailing world is next to be convicted on drug trafficking, animal cruelty or punching riders in the face?