We’ve already covered the biggest news this week: the mask mandate being lifted and Uber and Lyft allowing up to 4 passengers in for X-size rides. So, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins will focus on “smaller” news in this week’s roundup. Namely, the fact that Uber and Rakuten are teaming up for food delivery payments in Japan, a passenger was arrested after bragging to their Uber driver about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and more!
Jan. 6 suspect arrested after allegedly bragging to Uber driver (CBS)
Summary: A man charged in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was arrested after allegedly bragging about his participation in the riot to an Uber driver.
Jerry Daniel Braun was arrested on April 12 and charged with obstruction during civil disorder, entering and remaining in a building, and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
According to court documents unsealed this week, an Uber driver who chauffeured Braun hours after the Jan. 6 riot reported him to the Justice Department after the rider spoke about his involvement in the attack.
Braun, who had an injury near his right eye and was bleeding, told the Uber driver that he tore down barricades at the Capitol, according to dashboard video of the ride.
“So, has it been violent all day?” the Uber driver reportedly asked.
“Well, it started around, right when I got there. I tore down the barricades,” he responded.
When asked why he did that, Braun said “Well, because, so we could get to the Capitol.”…
My Take: Your Uber driver is not your new best friend, no matter how nice they are to you. If you did something illegal, maybe don’t brag about it to a stranger, especially if the driver has a dashcam!
Uber Ties Up With Rakuten for Food-Delivery Payments in Japan (Yahoo)
Summary: Uber Technologies Inc. will integrate Rakuten Group Inc.’s payment services into its Uber Eats and later Uber mobility app in Japan, one of its key international markets.
Rakuten, Japan’s homemade answer to Amazon.com Inc., operates a broad range of e-commerce and fintech services and has a widely used Rakuten Points loyalty program. The integration with Uber Eats, which will roll out in stages by the end of this month, will allow Rakuten account holders to log in without a pre-existing Uber account and earn and spend their Rakuten Points or Rakuten Pay credit, the companies said Monday.
The move builds on Uber’s efforts to make its services more accessible in international markets. The company rolled out ride-booking via WhatsApp in India in December, saying it wanted to meet customers on the platforms they are comfortable with. Rakuten counts more than 100 million members in Japan and now runs the fourth mobile network in the country, expanding its ecosystem with aggressive pricing and promotions….
My Take: At RSG, we’re fans of Rakuten. It’s a way to earn cashback while making everyday purchases. It’s also a way to pay less upfront for some purchases.
As the article states, Rakuten is Japan’s answer to Amazon, so it makes sense that companies like Uber want to team up with them. It’s a well established and proven success.
If I could pay for an Uber with the cashback I earn from Rakuten, that would be really slick, and I’d enjoy it immensely. I’d be even more inclined to use Rakuten to get “free” Uber’s using my cashback rewards.
DoorDash shares data to shed light on potential impact of ‘PayUp’ policy on communities (Fox)
Summary: DoorDash is sharing data to shed light on the potential impact the “PayUp” proposal could have on communities in Seattle.
A suite of bills is currently being considered by Seattle city leaders to set minimum wage standards and protections for app-based workers. Proponents of the bill said there are about 40,000 workers who would be impacted.
DoorDash told FOX 13 while it strongly supports DoorDash workers earning more, the company believes if passed PayUp could lead to dramatically increased costs of delivery which could reduce orders. The company estimates Seattle businesses could lose over $74 million collectively a year and DoorDash workers could lose over $32 million in collective earnings due to an expected drop in orders.
“Our data shows that 48% of Dasher earnings are made by Seattle-based Dashers from low-income communities and 48% of Seattle-based Dasher earnings are made by Seattle-based Dashers from communities of color. We also know that 31% of DoorDash deliveries are made to low-income communities. All of this makes us concerned that increased costs could have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities,” said spokesperson Briana Megid of DoorDash….
My Take: Haven’t we heard this all before? It’s turning into an age-old story where company X doesn’t want to pay their workers more because it’ll mean raising their prices and driving away customers.
But has that been proven? I haven’t seen a big exodus from Seattle where people are refusing to use Ubers and Lyfts because they have to pay so much more to ensure the drivers make a minimum wage.
So, why would this be any different? Is DoorDash just blowing smoke so they can try to keep their profits where they want them instead of paying their drivers what they are worth?
Also in the news…
Financial Benefits Platform Lean Partners with Flywheel, a Bay Area Taxi Platform (Crowdfund Insider)
Thoughts: Anything that gets more benefits into the hands of drivers is a win in my book. It would be beneficial to Uber and Lyft to make similar partnerships. One thing drivers have been saying they want to see is access to benefits. This is a way to make it happen.
Just Eat Takeaway is exploring a sale of Grubhub barely a year after buying the company (CNBC)
Thoughts: Is Grubhub going to last? Their future seems kind of questionable to me. If Just Eat Takeaway does sell Grubhub, what’s next for them? Will Uber buy them out? DoorDash? Or will they just fizzle away to nothing? Let’s sit back and see what happens.
Has your passenger ever told you they’d done something illegal? How did you respond?
-Paula @ RSG