In the world of rideshare and delivery, the main focus is on Lyft this week. Lyft is now allowing passengers to pay with cash. At the same time, drivers are saying they cannot pay their bills due to the high cost of gas and the low wages they receive from rideshare and delivery platforms. This and more in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins.
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You can pay for your Lyft ride with cash now (Engadget)
Summary: Ridesharing isn’t typically viable in the US if you want to pay with cash, but that won’t be a problem now that Lyft has introduced an option to pay for rides using cash. Visit 35,000-plus stores like Walmart, ACE Cash Express and Kroger and you can present a barcode or ID number to turn physical money into a balance accessible through the Lyft app or website. You’ll have to scan approved identification after requesting your first ride.
You’ll need to add at least $30 whenever you contribute to the balance. Your transportation options will also be limited if you go cash-only. You have to attach a credit card or another payment option to your account if you want to hire a bike or scooter.
Lyft pitches the feature as a way to democratize rideshare services. About 7.1 million US households either had no bank accounts or only limited access to conventional financial services as of 2019, according to FDIC data, and that frequently affected communities of color. The cash option lets those unbanked people request on-demand rides without paying for cabs. We’d add that this could help if you’re uncomfortable with linking payment cards to transportation services like this….
My Take: It is…good(?) that Lyft isn’t expecting drivers to handle the cash. It’s still through the app, so that’s safer than expecting drivers to keep change on hand or handle cash directly. But it still feels wrong in some way.
It feels like it’s safer while also being less safe, specifically for drivers. Cash is not a traceable way to pay. There are carjackings and issues happening all over the country, and to allow passengers this anonymous way of ordering the service feels scary.
As an RSG Facebook commenter implied, this is confusing. Passengers may misunderstand how the cash feature works, thinking they can pay the cash to the driver instead of taking that extra step to go into a store to add cash to their account. And drivers are the ones that will be blamed for the misunderstanding.
UberX Share brings carpooling back to NYC, LA, Chicago, and six other cities (The Verge)
Summary: Last November, Uber launched a pilot of its Uber Pool replacement, dubbed UberX Share, in Miami, Florida. Today, the company says shared rides have returned to nine cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Portland, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh. Like Lyft, Uber paused its Uber Pool service in March 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lyft Shared rides resumed in several cities over the last few months, and now, UberX Share is following a similar rollout. According to Uber senior vice president of mobility Andrew Macdonald, the feature will only match riders headed in the same direction and is designed to add no more than eight additional minutes to your trip’s arrival time.
The main difference between Uber’s carpool service and the pilot program is a looser approach to some COVID-19 precautions. While Uber Pool allowed riders to request up to two seats in a vehicle, UberX Share can only be used for one person at a time. If you’re traveling with friends, the company asks that you use UberX or UberXL instead.
My Take: The news of UberX Share was announced a few months ago, along with changes that would be made to differentiate it from UberPool. Now it’s rolling out to more cities.
I’ve never experienced UberPool or shared rides because it was never available in my city. I imagine for the passenger, the upside is getting a cheaper ride, but I also feel like most of those people are hoping that no one else is picked up along their route so they can just get the ride for cheaper than ordering a standard Uber.
I don’t think UberX Share is an answer that anyone was really looking for.
I’m an Uber driver in New York City. Gas prices have hurt our wages so badly that it’s hard to pay bills. (Business Insider)
Summary: I’ve been an Uber driver for six years, and now I’m the president of the NYC Rideshare Club. Our club is part of a larger coalition, Justice for App Workers, which includes nine rideshare groups. We recently staged a caravan protest in Manhattan over how rideshare apps are handling the rising gas prices.
Skyrocketing gas prices aren’t something we were planning for. It’s not something we expected. It just happened.
It’s cutting into our personal budgets, and we’re having to go without some necessities that we need in order to be able to fill our cars and drive.
I have a Chevy Suburban SUV. Before, I could fill it with gas for $65 or $70, but now it’s going up to $140 or $150. That only lasts me for a day or two, depending on the trips that I get. We want New York to look at us and know we’re important to this city, we’re humans, and we have rent to pay….
My Take: Gas prices shot up several months ago, and haven’t come down. In fact, they continue to go up. Platforms like Uber and DoorDash have given small incentives to drivers to continue driving, gas stipends added to trips or cashback at the pump. But they haven’t changed their stance on when these benefits will end and they haven’t increased the benefits to drivers in line with the increase in gas prices.
Inflation is up astronomically. The cost of goods and services is up higher than people can afford. We’re in a crisis right now. And I’m afraid it’s only going to continue to get worse. And gig workers are going to feel it just as bad, if not worse than the rest of the population. There’s no pay raise for drivers. The cost of the rides are going up for passengers, but the pay for drivers is stagnant.
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Also in the News…
The End of the Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy (The Atlantic)
Thoughts: We went over this concept a bit in last week’s roundup. Cost of everything is on the rise, but more than that, this article goes into detail about all of these startups and “tech” companies and how cheaply they’ve advertised themselves to be without being able to turn a profit. It’s worth a thorough read.
Gridwise offers 50 cents off a gallon of gas for ride-share, delivery drivers (LinkedIn)
Thoughts: Simply download the Gridwise app and sign up for their gas card to start receiving this discount!
Drivers’ Lawsuit Claims Uber and Lyft Violate Antitrust Laws (NY Times)
Thoughts: It’s an argument that several have brought up throughout the existence of rideshare with the claims that drivers are independent contractors. True independent contractors are able to pick and choose the jobs they want to take without punishment. This lawsuit is set to deal with that along with other issues.
What do you think of Lyft allowing passengers to pay with cash?
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-Paula @ RSG