Instacart Priority Orders and DoorDash Glitch Cause Headaches

Between Instacart implementing a priority order option for customers and a DoorDash app glitch putting thousands into Dasher’s accounts then taking it away, it’s been a crazy week for delivery drivers. Learn about these changes and issues and more with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins as she covers this week’s news.

Instacart’s new 30-minute deliveries are sure to be a headache for workers [The Verge]

Summary: In the crowded food- and grocery-delivery space, Instacart is hoping that shaving off a few minutes makes all the difference. To that end, it’s creating a new “priority delivery” option that debuts today in select markets and promises to have orders fulfilled in “as fast as 30 minutes.”

While 45- and 60-minute deliveries are already available to many Instacart customers, “priority delivery” is, according to the company, debuting in more than 15 cities (though it only names six: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle). It’s intended use case is for quick errands, rather than the bulk, groceries-for-the-week function Instacart tends to thrive on. With that in mind, even in participating stores, the 30-minute option will become unavailable for orders that are overly large or complicated, the company told The Verge.

As is true for many delivery jobs, small orders, like the ones “priority” is designed for, are typically the least lucrative and often remain in the queue of unclaimed work for longer. For many drivers, picking up these small potatoes orders aren’t worth the gas they’d spend getting to the store. Naturally, faster service will also cost more — though the pricing for “priority” is as yet unknown. Instacart declined to provide details on how much the upcharge is expected to be, or how much of it will make its way into delivery workers’ paychecks. Instacart also did not say whether it was increasing staffing or making workflow changes to accommodate any needs specific to “priority delivery.”…

My Take: Is this really going to make a big difference for Instacart’s bottom line? My guess is probably not. Having 45- and 60-minute options already seems like plenty fast to me, but maybe 30 minutes will make all the difference for some people.

I understand that it’s supposed to be smaller errands and not a full grocery load, but will the app cut customers off from choosing 30-minute priority delivery if they have too many items?

If you’re an Instacart delivery driver in any of the markets where this is being tested, please keep us posted on how it affects your job!

Alderman accuses Uber, Lyft of ‘predatory fares,’ wants price cap imposed [Chicago Sun Times]

Summary: Ride-hailing firms would have to notify the city of regular fare rates. They would be free to use “surge pricing” when demand is high, but capped at 150% of the regular fare. So a normal fare of $10 could increase to no more than $15.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) is proposing a cap on ride-hailing fees to rein in what he called “predatory” charges routinely imposed by Uber and Lyft.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Reilly plans to introduce an ordinance requiring companies licensed as “transportation network providers” to charge no more than 150% of their “current regular fare,” even during snowstorms and other periods of high-demand.

The ordinance would require Uber, Lyft and Via to notify Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareno of “each regular fare rate used” by the company for each class of vehicle and type of service. That includes both “black cars” and sedans, shared rides and solo trips….

My Take: From a passenger perspective, fantastic! I would love it if Uber and Lyft couldn’t charge me more than 150% of the regular fare.

On the driver’s side of things…that really bites. That just means it’s even more money that is being taken from drivers. Drivers are the ones who have to deal with the high traffic and demand issues when too many passengers are requesting from one area. They deserve to get extra compensation for their troubles.

Unions and gig drivers sue to overturn California’s Proposition 22 [CBS]

Summary: Drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based services filed a lawsuit Tuesday to overturn a California ballot initiative that classifies them as independent contractors instead of employees eligible for benefits and job protections.

The lawsuit filed with the California Supreme Court contends that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional because it limits the power of the state legislature to grant workers the right to organize and excludes drivers from eligibility for workers’ compensation.

The measure, which was passed in November with 58% support, was the most expensive in state history. DoorDash, Lyft, Uber and other app-based companies spent $200 million in support of it. Labor unions, which joined drivers in the lawsuit, spent about $20 million to oppose the measure.

My Take: Many people called this. We knew someone would try to sue over Prop 22 passing and now it’s happening.

This article was shared on Reddit and people commented with statements such as:

“I know some people will come here and [complain] about not wanting to be an employee. But thanks to AB5 that Uber gave drivers in CA trip destination info plus multiplier. Join the lawsuit and Uber will give you what you want. It is cheaper to have us setting our own price than paying us a salary plus benefits.”

Another replied saying, “I agree. Even if I get to see the trip information I am finding that the rides are all money losers. I have been seeing rides without info all night with pickups 10 miles away.

I just saw an offer to drive 30 miles for 18.00? I mean what? This is stupid, unfair, and they are taking more than 50%. [Forget] seeing the ride info since you cannot make money with, or without it.”

Later in the thread, the same person said, “Unions are the only ones with huge bank accounts to sue these companies. I was fine with prop 22 until, as you know, we lost the multiplier and the upfront information.”

Drivers I’ve spoken with still seem to be deeply divided on Prop 22 and how it has either helped or hurt the gig economy in California. If you drive in CA, what’s your take on the changes that have come through because of Prop 22 passing?

DoorDash Glitch Gives Workers Thousands of Dollars, Then Takes It Away [Vice]

Summary: On Monday, many DoorDash food delivery drivers in California logged into the DoorDash app and thought they’d struck the jackpot. Their accounts were flush with thousands of dollars they didn’t expect labelled as “pay adjustment,” according to screenshots posted on social media groups and Reddit forums.

“This happening to anyone else?” a Reddit thread, accompanied by a screenshot of a $3,349.50 deposit, was titled. Some drivers posted screenshots showing more than $6,000 in “pay adjustments” from DoorDash.

“My jaw dropped when I saw over $3,000 in my account,” Dave, a DoorDash delivery driver in Auburn, California who is in one of the Facebook groups, told Motherboard. “I thought maybe they’re giving me backpay.”

Motherboard allowed Dave to use his first name only because he feared retaliation. According to screenshots of Dave’s earnings history, it takes him about five weeks to earn $3,000….

My Take: Ouch. For thousands of dollars to be deposited on to have it taken away plus thousands more on top of that, I would have been crushed.

When it comes to thousands of dollars, that’s life-changing and not in a good way when you’re told you owe $6,000+. What if bills needed to be paid with the money that was supposed to be there, but instead you’re told you owe $6,000 to DoorDash?

I would have been in full-on panic mode if I was in that situation. I’m glad it all got worked out, but my heart is pounding and my hands are shaking just thinking about it.

Were you affected by the DoorDash glitch? Has it been fully resolved on your end? Feel free to share your experiences!

-Paula @ RSG