In this week’s roundup, Lyft offers new incentives for EV drivers in California, Uber experiences another data breach and much more. Keep reading to learn how these might affect you as a rideshare or delivery driver. Senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar wraps up the week’s news in this week’s roundup.
Lyft drivers who use EVs will get a $150 bonus if they complete 50 trips a week (The Verge)
Summary: Lyft, which has said it wants “100 percent” of the vehicles operating on its platform to be electric by 2030, is offering a new slate of incentives to drivers to get them to ditch their polluting, gas-powered vehicles for ones with zero tailpipe emissions.
Starting today, Lyft drivers in California who use an EV are eligible to receive a bonus of $150 if they complete 50 trips in a week — which translates to an extra $3 per trip. Drivers will need to register their EVs on Lyft’s app before the end of 2023 in order to qualify for the bonus. And they can keep raking in $150 per week until they hit the bonus maximum of $8,100.
Only drivers in California are eligible for the Lyft EV challenge, the company says. As the largest market for EVs in the country, California will serve as a test case for Lyft before it determines whether to expand the incentive to other states….
My Take: I reached out to RSG’s resident EV expert, Gabe Ets-Hokin to see what he thinks of this news. Here’s what he had to say:
“This is obviously welcome news to EV drivers, but it’s narrowly aimed at satisfying new state legislation that will go into effect somewhere around the end of 2024. Unless other states enact similar requirements, I wouldn’t count on Lyft expanding this program outside California.
Meanwhile, Uber is silent about extending or expanding its $1/ride EV incentives, which is slated to end on December 31st. The Uber and Lyft fleets have failed to electrify at even 10% the rate of the total US passenger car fleet, so it’s time for both of these companies to get serious about reducing carbon emissions. Climate change is real and reacting to it shouldn’t be a game or PR stunt.”
Gabe makes good points here. And all we’ve seen in the past is what looks like “PR stunts” to try to encourage drivers to switch to EVs, or at least make it look like they are incentivizing it in some small way.
The fact of the matter is, while EVs are on the rise, it’s still much easier to get your hands on a gas-powered vehicle in this country, and many people don’t want to make the change unless they absolutely have to. It’s hard to convince people to change, even if it is better for the environment overall.
At RSG, we have an EV Facebook page for all your EV-related news. Check it out!
Court temporarily blocks NYC Uber drivers’ scheduled pay raise (Engadget)
Summary: New York City Uber drivers won’t get a raise before the holidays after all. On Tuesday evening, a Manhattan Supreme Court justice granted Uber’s request for a temporary restraining order on drivers’ rate hikes scheduled to go into effect on December 19th. New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted on the pay raise in November.
As part of the TLC’s new rules, Uber drivers’ per-minute rates would go up by 7.18 percent, and per-mile rates would increase by 16.11 percent. So, for example, a 7.5-mile trip taking 30 minutes would earn a driver at least $27.15 — $2.50 higher than the current rate. An inflation-based pay raise is also scheduled for March 2023.
Uber’s lawsuit suggests it would pass the extra costs onto riders while framing the worker raise as bad for business. It also claims the TLC’s hikes use flimsy calculations to lock in temporarily inflated gas prices. “Such a significant fare hike, right before the holidays, would irreparably damage Uber’s reputation, impair goodwill and risk permanent loss of business and customers,” the lawsuit said. In its response, TLC acknowledged that Uber charges 37 percent more today than in 2019, but it said the company is keeping money earned from fare hikes to itself rather than passing it on to drivers….
My Take: Well, this was an exciting thing when it was announced in mid-November. It’s sad to see that it’s getting caught up in the courts now, though we knew this would happen. Uber wouldn’t stand idly by as the city insisted on better pay for the drivers.
We at RSG are always on the side of drivers earning the rate they deserve, which is higher than they are currently earning anywhere in the U.S. Seeing a pay hike instead of a slash is a small step in the right direction, even if it is only for one market.
Hopefully this will get out of the court system soon and land on the side of drivers earning better pay.
Hacker releases emails, personal data from over 75,000 Uber employees (MSN)
Summary: A hacker has leaked a trove of data linked to the ride-sharing company Uber, exposing everything from corporate reports to information on more than 77,000 employees.
The data, which also includes IT asset information and source code, was posted over the weekend on a notorious hacking forum by a user named “UberLeak.”
In a statement to BleepingComputer, Uber said that the data was not pilfered directly from its servers but from a third-party vendor known as Teqtivity. Uber also confirmed that the data was unrelated to a separate breach it suffered back in September….
My Take: We just saw a similar issue back in September when a hacker breached Uber’s cybersecurity. This time it was targeted at Uber employee information.
In this day and age of technology and advancements, and information overload, this will not be the last time Uber is hacked in some way, shape, or form.
The good news this time around is that no customer information was involved.
Republicans question Uber over drivers allegedly transporting drugs (The Hill)
Summary: Five Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Thursday to raise concerns about drivers for the company allegedly transporting illegal drugs across the country.
GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Morgan Griffith (Va.) and Brett Guthrie (Ky.) said in the letter that they have questions about how Uber is “preserving the integrity” of Uber Connect, which allows people to send items with same-day delivery.
The lawmakers noted that a 22-year-old woman named Alex Portillo died earlier this year from fentanyl poisoning after receiving the drug through an Uber Connect delivery….
My Take: This is a concern that actual drivers have brought up as well. Drivers have to hope that customers follow the law in what can and cannot be transported through Uber delivery. There’s no proof that drivers can ask for from their customers.
Delivery drivers can request to view the contents of the package, but that won’t necessarily go over well, and there’s no guarantee that Uber will back delivery drivers on this kind of request. The customer can complain about the driver and potentially get them in trouble.
Here’s our take on How to Handle a Delivery Request.
Also in the news…
Uber Eats launches robot delivery service in Miami (CNN)
Thoughts: Makes sense this is launching in a mostly fair-weather location. If it were to launch in, say, Chicago in December, there would be several issues to contend with, like snow banks and ice. In Miami, there aren’t mountains or steep hills or severe weather issues (unless it’s hurricane season). This kind of delivery would eliminate accusations customers have against drivers stealing food or tampering with it. But it also means we’re getting ever closer to this reality: Will I Be Replaced by a Delivery Robot?
9 juveniles arrested in carjackings targeting Uber and Lyft drivers in the Baltimore area (CBS News)
Thoughts: Is it just me, or are more and more of these stories coming out, and the crimes are being committed by juveniles? What kind of kids are we raising in this country? How and why are they getting it in their heads that they are justified in carjacking and injuring and sometimes killing people? I just can’t stop shaking my head.
Uber unveiled new safety features for its drivers. Here are the main takeaways (KJZZ)
Thoughts: Senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian was interviewed for this safety feature-focused recording. Give it a listen!
Delivery drivers reveal their biggest complaints about customers and why most of them love working during the holidays (Business Insider)
Thoughts: RSG’s CEO Harry Campbell is quoted as saying, “gig customers do tend to be happier around the holidays,” in this article about holiday delivery drivers. This time of year is a busy time for delivery drivers, but customers can be more giving in terms of tips this time of year. Read the whole thing to see what else Harry says.
Money Change Makers (Money.com)
Are there enough incentives out there to really convince drivers to switch from gas to electric? Or even hybrid? What would get you to make the switch if you haven’t already?
-Paula @ RSG