7 min read

    7 min read

    Lyft goes green, Uber exits another market, and more in this week’s round up. Senior RSG contributor John Ince covers positive steps Uber is taking to be more responsible with its data, but how Uber’s commitment to diversity still moves at a glacial pace, and how Lyft is becoming carbon-neutral.

    Senior RSG contributor John Ince covers positive steps Uber is taking to be more responsible with its data, but how Uber’s commitment to diversity still moves at a glacial pace, and how Lyft is becoming carbon-neutral.

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    How to Make Extra Money, Network and Market Another Business When Driving for Uber or Lyft [Entrepreneur]

    Sum and Substance: There’s no shortage of companies looking to launch products and services for drivers, but I can tell you from working with many of them that it’s a long road. It’s easy to come up with a name and slap a landing page on a website, but developing, launching and marketing a product to drivers across the country is a big challenge.

    During your time as a rideshare driver, you’ll probably encounter lots of these companies and it’s important to evaluate each one on its cost, potential and hassle factor. I’d be wary of any company that doesn’t have a solid track record and good refund and return policies if it costs money.

    Below are some other unique ways drivers have made money:

    • In-vehicle video ads: Companies like Go Vugo have been around for a couple years but haven’t quite gained a foothold with the driver community. I think there’s a lot of potential here so it’s an area to keep an eye on.
    • Vehicle ads: Wrapify is a company that will pay rideshare drivers to wrap their vehicles in advertisements.
    • Selling your own products: A lot of drivers have side hustles, so it’s no surprise that many of them push their own products or services to passengers. If you’re going to go this route, make sure that you’re not too pushy or over the top. Only sell to those who want to be sold to.

    [Editor’s Note] – An excerpt of the The Rideshare Guide, which was released on Tuesday, April 24. This excerpt covers all the different ways you can make money in addition to rideshare driving, including delivery, and how other drivers came up with ways to (respectfully!) share their other side businesses with passengers.

    Don’t forget you can pick up your copy of The Rideshare Guide at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, or iBooks.

    Uber To Stop Storing Precision Locations in Driver Logs [TechCrunch]

    Sum and Substance: Uber is planning to tweak the historical pick-up and drop-off logs that drivers can see in order to slightly obscure the exact location, rather than planting an exact pin in it (as now). The idea is to provide a modicum more privacy for users while still providing drivers with what look set to be remain highly detailed trip logs.

    The company told Gizmodo it will initially pilot the change with drivers, but intends the privacy-focused feature to become the default setting “in the coming months”.

    My Take:  Last week, I made reference to a report that Uber had begun sharing its data with nonprofits to help alleviate urban congestion. This week, Uber has gone a step further in its responsible use of its vast treasure trove of data about its passengers.

    It has always struck me as strange that Uber would make available to drivers exact drop-off addresses. If something goes awry on the ride, the driver knows where they can find the passenger. Of course, even with this change – no longer storing addresses – a driver still knows where he dropped off the passenger. If passengers are concerned about their driver, they could always consider using a different drop-off address and walk a short distance.

    Uber’s first diversity report under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi shows Uber is still mostly white and male [Recode]

    Sum and Substance: Uber’s first diversity report under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi shows Uber is still mostly white and male The company has zero Latinx or black employees in tech leadership roles, and it saw a drop in the number of black employees across the board.

    Uber, long opposed to reporting the demographics of its employees, has released its second diversity report ever and first public report under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

    Little progress has been made, particularly with regard to representation from black and Latinx employees. The company saw a drop in black employees, which now make up 8.1 percent of its workforce, down from 8.8 percent last year. There was a small uptick in Latinx workers at 6.1 percent of the employee base, up from 5.6 percent.

    In technology-related positions, those numbers are more staggering. Hispanic or Latinx employees made up only 3 percent of all tech employees while black workers only made up 2.6 percent. There were zero Latinx or black employees in tech leadership roles.

    My Take: DK’s efforts to reboot the Uber culture have yielded tangible results in some areas, but apparently that doesn’t extend to the composition of the Uber workforce – still dominantly white and male. Of course, that’s simply a reflection of the broader corporate culture, changing (but glacially) over time.

    Uber suspending Vienna operations after court injunction [Reuters/]

    Sum and Substance: VIENNA (Reuters) – The ride-hailing service Uber is suspending operations in Vienna after an Austrian court issued a temporary injunction against it on Wednesday.

    The case is one in a series of battles that taxi operators have waged across Europe against the U.S. company that they accuse of undermining their businesses.

    “We respect the court’s decision and are working hard to change our operating model within the next few days,” an Uber spokeswoman said in a written statement. Operations in the city of 1.9 million people would be stopped later on Wednesday and the company expected them to resume later this week, she added…

    Uber launched in Europe in 2011, angering some local authorities and taxi drivers who said it did not abide by the same rules on insurance, licensing and safety.

    Following widespread protests, court battles and bans, Uber has taken a more emollient stance under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, suspending operations in various cities in order to comply with local regulations.

    My Take:  This is one more sign that Uber’s facing an uphill battle in a lot of cities around the world.  Local authorities are hostile. They don’t trust Uber and they’d rather see local companies thrive.

    Lyft rides are now carbon-neutral—what does that mean for you? [Curbed]

    Sum and Substance: The ride-hailing app is purchasing credits to offset emissions for 50 million rides per month, including yours Lyft is making one of the world’s largest voluntary carbon credit commitments.

    In 2016, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer set a bold goal for the company’s future by claiming most Lyft vehicles would be autonomous within five years. Now the ride-hailing giant has announced another forward-thinking effort—effective immediately, all its rides will be carbon neutral.

    “Starting today, your decision to ride with Lyft will support the fight against climate change,” reads a statement published last week from Zimmer and co-founder Logan Green. “This is an intentional move to build into Lyft’s business a strong incentive to pursue shared rides and the displacement of gasoline-powered vehicles.”

    As part of Lyft’s Green Cities Initiative, the company’s leadership is working with climate consultant 3Degrees to offset its carbon emissions. This means Lyft is buying millions of dollars of what are known as “carbon credits”—investments in renewable energy companies that will help erase Lyft’s negative climate impact. All of Lyft’s carbon credits will fund U.S. based companies, which the company claims will be equivalent to “planting tens of millions of trees or taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.”

    My Take:  As a card carrying environmentalist, I’m glad to see Lyft make this very public display of support for the environment. This article is pretty technical, explaining more than most people want to know about how carbon credits work and Lyft’s participation in this system.

    It’s easy to dismiss moves like this as PR, but I do believe Logan Green and John Zimmer have the best of intentions here, and we should salute them for using the resources of Lyft this way.  If more corporations did this, the world would be a better place. Now… what about price increases to put a little more money in the driver’s pocket?

    Readers, what do you think of this week’s round up?

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    -John @ RSG

    John Ince

    John Ince

    John Ince is a former Fortune reporter and Wall Street banker. He has about 1,000 rides under his belt driving part time for Uber and Lyft.  He’s writing a book about his experiences entitled:  Travels With Vanessa:  A Rideshare Driver Tries To Make Sense of It all - For a sneak peak visit the link above.

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