Carjackings continue, DoorDash and Walmart promise to make changes and autonomous vehicles are making strides to be better options than human drivers. Today, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins goes over this week’s news and what it could mean for drivers.
Two teen girls charged in carjacking, crash that left D.C. Uber Eats driver dead [NBC News]
Summary: An Uber Eats delivery driver, described by relatives as a hardworking Pakistani immigrant grandfather, was killed in a crash after officials said he was carjacked by two teenage girls in Washington, D.C.
The 13-year-old and 15-year-old, who have not been identified because they are minors, allegedly used a stun gun on the driver on Tuesday, causing him to crash his car, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
When responders arrived at the scene, about a block from Nationals Park, they found the victim suffering from life-threatening injuries, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital….
My Take: The violence and anger in the world is making me so sad. Something like this should never have happened. How do teenagers get it in their head to do something like this? It’s so needless!
I would like to take this moment, however, to remind drivers that we’re not allowed to transport minors without an adult with them. The article mentions the driver was working for Uber Eats at the time, so I’m really not clear how the teenagers entered the vehicle. If they got in and weren’t actually passengers of his, this is a good time to remind delivery drivers to lock your doors.
It sucks that we have to protect ourselves in whatever way we can, but the rest of the people out there are too unpredictable.
Related: Is Uber Safe?
Lyft head of rideshare to depart [MarketWatch]
Summary: Lyft Inc. LYFT, 1.87% said late Monday that it is making leadership changes in its rideshare and engineering division. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Lyft said that its vice president of rideshare and engineering, Eisar Lipkovitz, was stepping down from that position and would keep serving as vice president of revenue and marketing operations through May 31. Lipkovitz will serve as a consultant until Nov. 20, Lyft said. The company said that Ashwin Raj, vice president of payments and customer platform, will “assume the majority” of Lipkovitz’s responsibilities with the title of “interim” head of rideshare.
My Take: Leadership changes can be good and they can be bad. Or it could be nothing significant will change either way and no one will even notice. Overall, it sounds like it will be a fairly smooth transition. It doesn’t sound like it’s a scandal or anything unstable. Any changes that come through will be determined by who they actually onboard as the new head of rideshare.
Exclusive: Low tips, long waits: DoorDash takes on drivers’ Walmart gripes [Reuters]
Summary: Third-party delivery firm DoorDash Inc is taking steps to address what it says are frustrations from independent drivers toting Walmart Inc merchandise and grocery orders, including low customer tips, the company confirmed to Reuters.
The world’s largest retailer in recent years has bolstered its partnerships with same-day third-party courier firms, including DoorDash, to reach consumers in and around scores of U.S. cities and better compete with Amazon.com Inc. The push came as Walmart ended initiatives to use Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc drivers, and struggled with using its own employees, to deliver packages.
On Feb. 26, DoorDash surveyed its more than 1 million independent drivers, asking them to share “experiences” about deliveries for Walmart. “We heard your feedback. Make Walmart orders better,” the survey says, according to a version Reuters has seen that DoorDash confirmed as authentic….
My Take: If you go on Reddit and look at the DoorDash forum, there are a lot of gripes about Walmart. It seems like the first thing you learn as a Dasher is to avoid Walmart orders if at all possible.
I’m not sure there’s going to be enough trust among current Dashers to believe that any changes made will actually improve Walmart runs. For one thing, no matter what Walmart and DoorDash do to improve the situation, they can’t make Walmart customers leave tips, which are currently lacking on those orders. Part of that problem, apparently, is that Walmart’s app didn’t allow up-front tipping until last fall.
It’s going to take a while, I think, for Dashers to trust Walmart deliveries.
Waymo’s autonomous taxis now make multiple stops, judgement-free [MSN]
Summary: In the Phoenix metro area, you don’t need to worry about an annoyed Uber or taxi driver. The self-driving taxis from Google-spinoff Waymo will patiently wait while you run out to pick up dinner or drop off a package.
That’s because the Waymo app now has an “add a stop” option. Riders using the Waymo One autonomous ride service can pick up a friend or some groceries without having to reorder a car at each stop.
You can make a short stop, like dropping off your sister, or a long stop, like picking up a package at FedEx. For a longer stop, Waymo cars — which are all modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans, but will soon include electric Jaguar I-Pace SUVs —will wait nearby and pick you back up once you’re ready to head to the next location….
My Take: This is an essential, big step for autonomous vehicles. Uber and Lyft drivers are often upset if a passenger asks for an unscheduled stop, or if they put a stop in and take longer than the 3 minutes allotted.
But, obviously, a driverless vehicle wouldn’t get impatient and drive away while the passenger is running errands. It wouldn’t care if the passenger takes longer than 3 minutes to pick up a friend. It wouldn’t care if the passenger adds 5 stops instead of just one extra stop.
This added step will appease customers and would be a good selling point for these autonomous vehicles taking over our jobs. This is something to look out for.
How close do you think autonomous vehicles are to taking over the rideshare industry? What’s your plan B?
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-Paula @ RSG