In a scenario that's unlikely going to do much for Uber as it tries to squeeze into the local market, but an Uber driver has been charged with sexual assault.
According to a Guelph Police Service press release, a 59-year-old man was arrested Friday after an investigation was opened on March 7. No further details have been offered, but I did note an unusual coincidence.
Recently, on the "Overheard at Guelph" Facebook page, a member related a story about a very creepy encounter that she and a friend had with an Uber driver. Identifying the driver as "Shameem" and that he drove a Honda Civic, the young woman said that she and her friend hired the driver to take them to the Galaxy Cinema on Clair Rd, and then he stalked and harassed them after he dropped them off at the movie theatre. The women reported the incident to Guelph police, but this was a week before the investigation that spurred Friday's arrest began.
Of course, this is not the first time that Uber drivers have been charged in sexual assault. Last spring, an Uber driver in Mississauga was charged with sexually assaulting a fare, and then in the fall Toronto police sought two suspects in two different sexual assaults involving Uber operators.
The system, however, is not infallible either. A Red Top Taxi driver was charged with sexually assaulting two women in January 2015, and a Waterloo taxi driver was charged with assaulting a woman in the summer of 2014. Long story short, the debate over who's better when it comes to passenger safety, Uber or taxi companies, is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
Wale Alemu will appear in court on April 26, 2016.