Friday Rideshare Roundup: Small victories and funny stories from the road

I’ve been covering the Lyft saga on my Facebook page all week but believe it or not there were plenty of other things going on this week.  Today, RSG contributor, Grace Alexander takes a look at the bad and the good!

This week has been an interesting week in rideshare with a few ups and downs.  There was a bit of good news that got overwhelmed by bad news so I’m going to present the good news first.

This week’s small victories for rideshare!

USAA to offer rideshare coverage to members

The announcement is good news, but is still a bit limited in scope.  First, auto insurance with USAA has membership qualifications which limit it to service members and their families.

So far, the coverage has been piloted in Colorado and is now scheduled to launch in Texas this May.  Coverage will cost slightly more per month, but will definitely add peace of mind.  Hopefully more insurers will follow suite.

Related Article: Rideshare’s Little White Lie

‘It should be a free market’: Uber, Lyft pickups get OK at John Wayne Airport

We all have our reasons for using car services, but one of the main times I use one is going to/from the airport.  With airport parking and rental car prices the way they are I couldn’t imagine not using rideshare.

You get door-to-door service and can usually get a few recommendations for dinner too.  I’ve personally had Lyft or Uber pickups from at least 5 airports and I attended a conference in Huntington Beach last year and tried to get a Lyft.

The airport wasn’t geofenced so I was quite upset that drivers kept canceling my request.  Now visitors to Orange County have more choice and drivers will have more rides.

See if you recognize the guy in that cover shot too!

Welcome to the Billionaire club

How a tweet turned Uber’s first hire into a billionaire

When most people think of Uber they think of Travis Kalanick because of his outspoken views.  Sometimes you don’t need to be a household name at all as we see from the latest edition of Forbes list of billionaires.

Most of you who read this blog or follow rideshare news probably already knew that Uber is valued at over $40 billion, but now we know that Kalanick along with cofounder Garrett Camp are worth about $5.3 billion and their first hire, Ryan Graves, is worth $1.4 billion.  Not too bad for a job he got from Twitter.

Would you rather be Travis Kalanick, Garrett Camp, or Ryan Graves?  Comment below.

Funny Stories

Uber Decides To Refund Fee For Woman Who Says She Was Hit With $100 ‘Bodily Fluid’ Charge

I know, the title doesn’t sound very funny if you are a driver.  No one wants a passenger to leave any human or pet bodily fluids in their car.

But this passenger says it was just raining and the seat got wet from that.  Both Lyft and Uber will charge a cleaning fee to the card on file if a driver indicates that the passenger damaged the car.

Both services require photos and with Uber I had to submit a receipt from a cleaner to receive a cleaning fee.  Granted, water may not appear easily in a picture, but if Uber did not have a picture it should not have charged a cleaning fee.

One of the things I like to tell my mentees is that just like in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you should never forget a towel.  Having a towel in my car has helped me more than a few times.

An Apology from Uber [Not safe for work]

Funny or Die provides some comedy this week.  Note, this video is a bit twisted, but if you have a twisted sense of humor this should help you make it though the weekend.

And for completion

After Record Signups, Lyft Might Not Deliver Its $1000 Bonuses To Drivers

I know at this point it feels like beating a dead horse so I am not going to dwell on this, but it was definitely one of the most popular topics this week and should not be omitted.

See related: DEAL ALERT: $1000 Sign-up bonus for new drivers

Hackers get info on 50,000 Uber drivers

Many of you out there may have received a lovely letter from Uber telling us that our data has been hacked.  A private encryption key for the driver database was public on GitHub.

The strangest part is that the hack happened in May and was discovered by Uber in September and the news just made it around today.  Better late than never.

Drivers, what do you think about the top stories of the week?  Concerned more about privacy, liquid stains or something different?

-Grace @ RSG