Uber will no longer hire drivers in the state of Texas, the company announced Thursday, after several safety and privacy concerns were raised about the company’s hiring practices.

    “Uber has received a great deal of concern from our customers about the safety of our drivers,” Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, said in a statement.

    “We are taking this action in order to make sure that our drivers are safe.”

    Uber will suspend hiring of drivers in Travis County, the city where Travis is located, and in Austin, the state’s largest city, while it considers new safety protocols, the San Francisco-based company said in its announcement.

    The company said it would also halt driver licensing in Texas until it has “more information” on how to ensure that Uber drivers are up to the task.

    Uber will also stop paying drivers for the hours they work and instead rely on contractors to handle the driver’s tasks.

    The announcement comes after a year in which Uber has faced criticism for hiring drivers without vetting them, for not disclosing their background checks and for the company failing to disclose that it had hired drivers with histories of domestic violence.

    Uber was fined $2.5 million in California and fined $9 million in Texas last year after a whistleblower reported that the company had hired at least nine drivers with violent histories who were subsequently terminated after the companies reported them to law enforcement.

    Earlier this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Uber’s business licenses in the city of Oakland, California, and ordered the company to suspend driver registrations in the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Uber said it was working to change its hiring practices in Texas and would announce more information about those changes when it receives additional information.


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