Saturday, October 23, 2021

DoorDash is suing the city because the government won’t release data about its riders

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This is the story of a place-based service whose goal is to use technology to improve user access to the food they want.

To that end, New York City-based DoorDash is suing the city government for preventing access to records about its business interactions, including the number of rides its users request to the restaurants it partners with.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court this week against the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which regulates ride-sharing companies, and the Transportation Department, which regulates the city’s wheelchair and taxi services.

The location-based delivery company has requested for six months to regain access to an arbitration agreement that it claims keeps its riders’ personal and ride histories from the Transportation Department.

The agreement, which is in effect as of January 31, was created in 2010 and expires on November 30. A statement on DoorDash’s blog describes it as “the first-ever city-wide arbitration requirement for a ride sharing company.”

“While DoorDash expects Uber and Lyft riders to sign arbitration agreements to settle their disputes with the ride-sharing companies, we do not make riders sign these agreements when they use our app and service,” the statement reads. “We believe that all companies should, and will soon, be subject to the same requirements.”

The report explains that the agreement prevents the Transportation Department from immediately accessing information that drivers provide to DoorDash that includes data like number of miles traveled, fuel usage, and how many times they transported customers. The agreement also “excludes drivers from providing any kind of personal information to the DOT, including riders’ ride histories.”

City officials maintain that the agreement is fair to both the taxi and ride-sharing industries, and that companies that require riders and drivers to enter into arbitration agreements fall within the scope of the city’s regulations.

Bloomberg reports that DoorDash’s legal team argues that its access to riders’ ride histories—which is public record—is actually a trade secret.

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