For years the California agency that regulates Uber and Lyft gathered annual reports about assaults that happen on their rides but kept that data secret. FIJ grantee Seth Rosenfeld is the first reporter to obtain some of those reports following an eight-month effort using the state’s public records act. His story in the nonprofit San Francisco Public Press revealed not only hundreds of assaults but also that the California Public Utilities Commission had failed to collect consistent data from the firms, raising questions not only about it’s reliability but also about the agency’s oversight of the industry. Two days after Rosenfeld obtained the reports, the commission opened an investigation into how the firms reported the assault data.
Frank Bass contributed data analysis, Jenny Kwon contributed visualizations and Michael Stoll edited the story. The project also was supported by McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.