This week we saw taxi drivers attacking Uber drivers, a switch between EVs and gas-powered vehicles in terms of cost to run, and so much more. Let’s dive into this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar.
Cancun Travel Warning Issued After Taxi Drivers Attack Uber Drivers and Passengers (NBC)
Summary: The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Mexico’s resort-studded Caribbean coast Monday after medallion taxi drivers started harassing and attacking drivers from the ride-hailing app Uber and their customers.
Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in the resort of Cancun Monday.
The blocked road forced some tourists to walk, or catch rides in police pickups to get their flights out.
The State Department advised travelers that “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”…
My Take: I am actually a bit surprised this hasn’t happened sooner/more frequently. The taxi industry took a hit when Uber and Lyft became strong competitors, though now in some markets, they are teaming up to work together.
However, it sounds like in the Cancun market, there is still bad blood between rideshare and taxi drivers. If you are traveling in Cancun, beware of these issues and tread lightly.
Lyft quietly adds wait time fees to most rides (The Points Guy)
Summary: Lyft has quietly added wait time fees for all rides, matching competitor Uber, which has had them since 2016.
“The wait time fee was implemented recently,” according to a Lyft spokesperson, who confirmed that Lyft now charges riders a wait fee beginning two minutes after the estimated pickup time for most rides.
Additional charges may apply “depending on how busy it is,” per Lyft. These fees do not apply to certain rides, including Shared, Access and Assisted rides, nor do they apply to canceled rides.
“Wait time fees may be charged at a per minute rate when your driver has arrived at the pickup location and has been waiting for more than 2 minutes (5 minutes for Lux Black and Lux Black XL [rides]),” the company explains online. “If a driver arrives early, fees may apply 2 minutes after the original estimated pickup time.”
Lyft’s wait time fees will vary by location, and Lyft declined to provide a range of charges riders could reasonably expect….
My Take: This is actually a bit of a shocker to me. Not that Lyft has added these fees, but because I had assumed they’d had them for years, just like Uber. The two ridesharing platforms tend to follow each other’s moves to the letter, so for this kind of discrepancy, it’s shocking to me to say the least.
For customers upset over it, the main competitor has already been charging this anyway, so either stop using rideshare or just buck up and deal with it.
RSG’s Sergio Avedian questioned this move simply by asking, “Is Lyft taking their cut and passing it on to the drivers like Uber does or is it on the driver’s dime?”
The article doesn’t make this clear, but one would assume it would go to the driver since the driver’s time is wasted waiting for the passengers.
Even though on Uber’s platform, drivers are paid for the extra wait time, it’s been a point of contention. For one, Uber requires drivers to wait a certain amount before they can cancel. When that wait time was increased to 7 minutes, drivers were outraged.
Driving 100 Miles in an EV Is Now More Expensive Than in an ICE (Yahoo!)
Summary: No longer needing to buy gasoline is one of the most convincing selling points for potential electric vehicle customers. It’s easy to conclude that owning an EV and recharging at home is cheaper than using a car powered by an internal combustion engine. The conclusion is correct if a driver switches powertrains between luxury vehicles, like going from a Porsche Macan to an electric Porsche Taycan.
However, a recent report from the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) found that fueling costs from mid-priced ICE-powered vehicles are lower than similarly priced electric vehicles. Combustion drivers pay about $11.29 per 100 miles on the road. EV drivers who charge up at home spend about $11.60 per 100 miles. The price difference is more dramatic for those who mainly recharge at stations. Frequent charging station users pay $14.40 per 100 miles….
My Take: As the article states in the beginning, having a cheaper way to keep your vehicle running has been a selling point for EVs for the past few years. But, now that gas prices have gone down, there’s been a leveling out, and in some instances a full switch between what is a more affordable option.
Everyone should still take these numbers in stride and consider the overall cost of maintenance, fueling and other expenses related to owning a vehicle. You might be surprised by which option works best for you.
Curious to know what the most affordable EVs are for gig drivers? Check out RSG’s article.
Keep up with the latest EV news related to rideshare drivers on RSG’s Uber & Lyft EV Drivers Facebook page.
Uber’s ‘View as Delivery Person’ shows how much of your info couriers get (The Verge)
Summary: Uber Eats is introducing a feature that will tell you how much of your personal information a courier has access to throughout the delivery process. The feature, called “View as Delivery Person,” is meant to “provide consumers with additional transparency and peace of mind,” especially after potentially awkward or uncomfortable encounters, according to Zach Singleton, Uber’s head of privacy and equity product.
The idea is that the Uber Eats app will show you what information a delivery person has about you before they pick your food up, while they’re making the delivery, and afterward. The basic gist, according to Singleton, is that they’ll only have an approximate delivery location until they actually pick up your order. In most cases, they’ll get your address, first name, and last initial, as well as any delivery instructions and notes when they pick up your order. After they make the delivery, the app reverts to only showing them your approximate delivery location. (What “approximate” means can vary by market, according to Singleton.)…
My Take: As an Uber Eats, and other delivery services, customer, this is important information to share. I know a lot of people get nervous if they have a bad experience, since the driver will know where they live now and might retaliate for a low tip or no tip order, or any other issues that may arise throughout the delivery process.
While this article is somewhat reassuring, it doesn’t really address the full issue. Despite this information no longer being available to the driver after the delivery is completed, the fact remains that a driver who has beef with a customer does know where they live. I know of several delivery drivers who have regular customers that are recognizable by the first name and general location.
Once you know where someone lives, and if you have issues with that person, there’s really nothing stopping a driver from holding onto that information for later use, despite what the app shows.
No matter what, customers and drivers alike should be safe and vigilant at all times. Let’s be kind to one another.
Massachusetts bills would set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers (Engadget)
Summary: Massachusetts politicians are still pushing for better working conditions for ridesharing drivers. New bills in the state House and Senate would not only pursue collective bargaining rights across companies, as with past measures, but would guarantee a minimum wage, paid sick leave and other benefits. Companies like Uber and Lyft would also have to cover some driver expenses and pour money into the government’s unemployment insurance system.
The new legislation wouldn’t decide whether drivers are employees or independent contractors. However, Senate bill co-sponsor Jason Lewis told the State House News Service his bill would establish requirements that apply regardless of a driver’s status. Previous bills would have tasked workers with negotiating for benefits that are now included, Lewis says.
Massachusetts sued Uber and Lyft in 2020 for allegedly misclassifying drivers as contractors and denying protections granted under state labor law. The companies responded with a proposed ballot measure that would have offered benefits in return for requiring that drivers be treated as contractors. The state’s Supreme Judicial Court rejected that proposal last June….
My Take: Ever since Prop 22 and AB5 in California, Massachusetts has been one of the other states to look to for potential changes. In July 2020, Massachusetts joined up in the fight over driver classification. And in August 2021, Uber was pushing for a legal change similar to Prop 22 in Massachusetts.
While this does not address the driver classification, it would set a minimum wage for rideshare drivers. Time will tell if this will become as controversial as Prop 22 in California or if drivers and legislators agree on the terms.
Another area to look to as far as setting a minimum wage is concerned is Seattle, which has had minimum earnings for drivers for a couple of years.
Does dropping an AirTag in your luggage actually help? ‘It takes two to get your item back’ (USA Today)
Thoughts: Just a quick mention here, as Harry was quoted in this article about using AirTags to track your luggage.
What minimum wage would you like to see as a rideshare driver? Share your thoughts in the comments!
-Paula @ RSG