Before I get into today’s roundup, I wanted to give a big thanks to everyone who’s been supporting the blog. I’ve gotten lots of e-mails, messages and tweets from readers who enjoy reading my content and listening to my podcasts. It’s a lot of work to run this site and I don’t get paid anything so all of your kind words really motivate me to keep doing what I do. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to leave a review on iTunes for the podcast so that I can keep moving up in the rankings. The podcast is doing well and at last check, the second episode had over 400 downloads! On to the roundup..
We all know that rideshare is under a lot of scrutiny right now. Taxi lobbyists and government officials are doing their best to stifle innovation and there are two bills in the CA senate that could change the future of rideshare indefinitely. Last week, I gave my thoughts on the two bills in the senate and I’m glad to see that over the past week, some revisions have been made. But the reason why I still don’t fully support either of the bills is because I don’t want to see TNC’s to turn back into taxis.
Related Article: Should You Support AB 2293 and AB 612?
More regulation and stricter insurance requirements might sound ok on the surface but that’s not always a good thing. There is a reason why I’ve spent most of my adult life doing everything I can to avoid getting into a taxi. Once ridesharing came along I actually looked forward to ‘calling a cab’ and my interest in the sharing economy is what inspired me to start this site.
Nothing is set in stone yet but TNC’s have a big battle ahead of them. It would behoove them to work together on these issues but instead it seems like they’re too busy trying to poach each other’s drivers and lower fares to entice more riders. What this all means is that drivers are getting paid less and being forced to take on more risk. It’s hard to keep track of how much I really make these days because it seems like Lyft and Uber are lowering their prices every day.
I know rideshare driving is at will employment for a lot of us but it’s always tough psychologically when you expect certain things and then you get them taken away. In fact it’s human nature to be resentful when this happens and I think that’s why you see so many driver protests going on right now. TNC’s have a lot of challenges going forward and the sooner they realize that it will benefit them to work together instead of trying to stand alone on top of the mountain, the sooner that we’ll all be in a better place.
Car Wars: Why Uber’s Main Competitor Takes a Back Seat – I know Uber started out as a classier service than Lyft but I feel like most of the passengers I get on UberX are pretty comparable to Lyft passengers. There’s definitely a more ‘buddy’ feel with Lyft that I prefer but I don’t disdain driving for Uber like some Lyft drivers do. And in the end, I think it makes a lot of business sense to drive for more than one TNC because you never know when you might get fired like this guy was.
Uber Drivers Are Fighting for Better Treatment from the Company – I’ve seen a few stories this past week about protests and rallies by drivers against Uber and I completely understand where they’re coming from. But unions and more insurance is not what Uber or Lyft are about. I think a lot of the angst is coming from full time drivers who need this job. For them, lower pay and insurance risk affects them a lot more than a part time driver. At the end of the day though, the things they’re protesting against would make Uber too much like a taxi company in my opinion.
Video: CBS2′s Serene Branson Puts ‘Taxi Magic’ Mobile App To The Test – I’ve never even heard of Taxi Magic but I can totally picture all the geniuses at Yellow Cab up in their offices thinking, “Oh shit, maybe these Uber and Lyft guys are for real. Let’s make an app too.” It just goes to show you that customer service should always come first. If taxis would have listened to their customers and done this 5 years ago, Uber and Lyft would have never came into the picture.
RelayRides lands $25 million funding to help car owners rent idle vehicles – Carolyn Said is one of my favorite SF tech writers and she does a nice piece on a new rideshare company that lets you rent your car to strangers. I can already see the Avis, Hertz and Thrifty lobbyists salivating. And if you’re looking for more rideshare companies check out our exclusive list of All Active Rideshare Companies.
Video: Michael Jackson “Love Never Felt So Good” Cover – Lyft Edition – This was actually a pretty cool marketing video put out by Lyft this week and it’s a great song too!
Here are the rest of the rideshare stories that I read this week.
Readers, what was your favorite story from the past week in rideshare? And what are your thoughts on the whole Uber vs Lyft war? Are there any winners in this thing?
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-The Rideshare Guy