Have we gotten to the point where the Uber and Lyft bubble has burst? If it has, what could that mean for these companies and for rideshare drivers? Meanwhile, a fintech startup wants to reward drivers with stocks from the popular platforms. What else is happening in the news? Continue reading for this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins.
Moves wants to reward gig workers with shares in Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub (Tech Crunch)
Summary: Moves, a Toronto-based gig economy fintech startup, wants to reward gig workers with stocks from the companies for which they drive. The first version of the Moves Collective, as the startup’s new service is called, launches on Thursday with Uber stocks available and then quickly offer Lyft, DoorDash and Grubhub shares, says CEO of Moves, Matt Spoke.
Moves’s thesis is this: If gig workers become shareholders, they might feel more economic alignment to the platforms they work for. Furthermore, if enough workers own stocks in these companies through the Moves Collective, they might be able to form a voting bloc in the future and actually influence company decisions. Moves says it already owns a “significant and growing stake” in these companies, all of which are common shares with voting rights.
Over the past year, poor working conditions for gig economy workers have led to worker protests and attempts by states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to reclassify gig workers as employees, worthy of all the basic rights that status affords, such as health care, vacation pay and paid sick leave. Companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have fought back against the ongoing debacle in California over Prop 22 and have formed a coalition in Massachusetts to get a proposal on the November 2022 ballot that would classify gig workers as independent contractors….
My Take: Ok, so the basic point is that Moves thinks if drivers have stock in the platforms they drive for, they’ll be more understanding of the economic decisions the companies make? I’m not so sure that is how it would go down.
Over the years I’ve heard from several drivers and not one of them even hinted that if they had shares in Uber they would be happier with the outcome of Uber’s decisions. It still all boils down to one point — drivers want fair wages up front.
Group of five Colorado teens are being hunted by cops for STABBING Uber driver in back and chest after he told them they wouldn’t all fit in the car (Daily Mail)
Summary: A Colorado Uber driver was stabbed multiple times early on Monday morning after he told a group of teens they would not all be able to fit into his car.
The victim, who has not been named, was called to South Broadway and Evans Avenue in Denver at around 12:15am, according to Fox 31 Denver.
The adult driver got into a verbal altercation with the young group after he advised them that he would not be able to fit them all.
He was then stabbed by the male teens when their altercation escalated into violence.
The driver was stabbed at least twice in the back and stomach, according to the Denver Police Department.
He was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive his injuries….
My Take: I am so tired of hearing about all of the needless violence across this country and around the world. And for something so insignificant and petty. The driver can’t legally take more drivers than what the platform allows, and so he gets stabbed for following the law? What the actual hell??
PLUS the fact that it was juvenile boys requesting the ride in the first place, which is supposed to be against Uber policy. Of course, since Uber doesn’t actually have a rider verification feature, basically anyone can create an account, whether they are the proper age or not.
There are virtually no repercussions for teens to sign up until a driver reports them and they are kicked off the platform, but then a buddy can sign up and the circle just continues on.
Find out what safety features Uber has in place: 7 Ways Uber Has Made It Safer To Be A Driver.
Driver reactions on Reddit ranged from advice to wishes of staying safe:
One commenter stated, “This is where keeping your doors locked and windows up and cracked when you roll up makes a lot of sense. You pull up and you see a bunch of dudes standing around and ALL OF THEM start walking to the car you say WHOA WHOA – I can take 3 and that’s it – the moment one gets froggy and aggressive, it’s time to pull away.”
Another said, “This news story right here makes me want to get [a partition] not for Covid, but for Paxholes like this here.”
“Why Uber doesn’t allow us to carry firearms per their policy I’ll never understand…,” said one responder.
While others mentioned that they carry and keep it concealed. The OP even stated, “No one will ever know I’m carrying until the day I need it. Then I will happily exit the platform with my life intact.”
I hope this driver recovers and the punks who stabbed him are caught and thrown in jail.
Hilarious video shows DoorDash coffee order trap man inside his home (NY Post)
Summary: A DoorDash customer says his delivery driver accidentally trapped him inside his home — by leaving the full cup of coffee he ordered just inches from his door.
Alex Bradshaw shared a video on TikTok of his dilemma trying to figure out how to open his front-facing door without tipping over the beverage.
“Thanks for the coffee Doordash,” Bradshaw captioned the Sept. 17 clip, which shows him opening the door only a smidge before coming close to knocking over the coffee.
The clip, which has been viewed more than 2.7 million times, received scores of comments with advice — all apparently useless.
“Thank you all for the continued suggestion of using my nonexistent back door to retrieve the coffee I ordered almost a month ago. Greatly appreciated,” Bradshaw commented on the clip….
My Take: This is one basically just to lighten the mood. But also serves as a minor PSA to delivery drivers. Please, please, please do not put food directly in front of a door that swings outward. It’s basic common sense.
Unless your customer was being a complete a**, then I’d say go for it as a mini form of payback.
For Uber and Lyft, the rideshare bubble bursts (Economic Times)
Summary: Piece by piece, the mythology around ride-sharing is falling apart.
Uber and Lyft promised ubiquitous self-driving cars as soon as this year. They promised an end to private car ownership. They promised to reduce congestion in the largest cities. They promised consistently affordable rides. They promised to boost public transit use. They promised profitable business models. They promised a surfeit of well-paying jobs.
Heck, they even promised flying cars.
Well, none of that has gone as promised (but more about that later). Now a new study is punching a hole in another of Uber and Lyft’s promised benefits: curtailing pollution. The companies have long insisted their services are a boon to the environment in part because they reduce the need for short trips, can pool riders heading in roughly the same direction and cut unnecessary miles by, for instance, eliminating the need to look for street parking.
It turns out that Uber rides do spare the air from the high amount of pollutants emitted from starting up a cold vehicle, when it is operating less efficiently, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found. But that gain is wiped out by the need for drivers to circle around waiting for or fetching their next passenger, known as deadheading. Deadheading, Lyft and Uber estimated in 2019, is equal to about 40% of ride-share miles driven in six US cities. The researchers at Carnegie Mellon estimated that driving without a passenger leads to a roughly 20% overall increase in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to trips made by personal vehicles….
My Take: While neither company has lived up to their promises and overall expectations, is it really safe to say the bubble has burst? There’s still more than plenty of passengers willing to use the platform despite the lack of autonomous vehicles, increase in traffic and pollution.
These studies that are done to say “look what these companies haven’t achieved” are great for opening the eyes of people who care, but that is likely not the majority of the general public.
Long story short, I don’t think the bubble has fully popped, but for drivers it seems to be heading in that direction.
What I mean by that is with lower and lower wages, safety as a second thought, and a myriad of other driver complaints, it’s very likely Uber and Lyft won’t ever fully bounce back from the pandemic because enough drivers may never come back.
Do you think the bubble has burst? In what way?
-Paula @ RSG