>> Uber's aggressive pursuit of growth and penchant for bypassing local regulations, creating a severe blind spot for the ride sharing app in Brazil. Reuters has found that ever since the company introduced cash payments to boost demand in the emerging market, driver assaults have spiked, some resulting in murder.
Reuters Senior Correspondent in Brazil, Brad Haynes, analyzed the police records.>> I'm in Sao Paulo, where a Reuters' investigation revealed a tenfold increase in armed assaults on Uber drivers, including a dozen murders nationwide after the app started requiring that drivers accept cash payments. Police and drivers say that makes them sitting ducks for criminals who can lure them into ambushes using fake profiles without giving a credit card or an official document to track them down.
>> Uber made cash payments a requirement in late July, and police reports show that robberies in Sao Paulo involving Uber drivers tripled from that month to September, then doubled again in October.>> Uber says it's hard to tell whether the spike in crime was caused directly by the new cash policy, or by the growth spurt in South America's largest city that it triggered.
Just days after we presented them with the results of our investigation, they started rolling out new security measures in Brazil, including a move to verify all new cash profiles using a social security number. Sources inside the company say Uber ignored early warning signs and was reluctant to make changes to the cash policy when it realized what a boost it was for demand.
Driven by cash, Sao Paulo passed New York and Tokyo in recent months to make it Uber's number one market, globally.>> Company sources said cash payments have become vital to Uber's business in emerging markets. In Sao Paulo alone, the company said cash accounts for half of all trips in the outer boroughs.