This week, we lead with a heart-warming story featuring an Uber driver and a hawk. Senior RSG contributor John Ince also covers yet another lawsuit against Uber, Uber and Lyft’s plans for a 2019 IPO and more in this week’s round up.
Fearless Uber Driver Stops Mid-Trip to Scoop Up Injured Hawk and Save It From the Highway [Good News Network]
Sum and Substance: This red-tailed hawk is no small bird of prey – but that didn’t stop a courageous Uber driver from lending a hand when he saw that it was injured on the side of a major highway earlier this month.
58-year-old Kasim Eldilemi was in the middle of driving a passenger across the FDR Drive when he spotted the distressed hawk on the shoulder of the Manhattan road.
Though some motorists were content to take pictures of the taloned creature from their windows, Eldilemi stopped his car so he could scoop the bird into his arms.
“I put on the emergency lights and I jumped out and grabbed the hawk,” Eldilemi told the New York Daily News. “My passenger was surprised. He was like ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Look, I’m gonna drop you off first and then do something with the bird.’” “I tell it, ‘Look, I’m going to save you,’” he added. “The bird just looked at me, like, friendly.”…
Uber was quick to praise their courageous driver for rescuing the bird, saying: “Uber’s driver-partners do incredible things every day … but we’re particularly amazed by Kasim who ensured the hawk was safe.”
Eldilemi, however, is humble of his rescue efforts. “This is an example for America,” he told the Daily News. “If I go to drive anywhere, and I see something — animal, human — I stop to help.”
My Take: This guy is a hero – a real unsung hero. Unsung at least until the media picked up on the story. But that doesn’t diminish his heroism. Chalk one up for humanity here. How many of you Uber/Lyft drivers out there have done things like this that have never been reported or even noticed?
Here’s your opportunity to tell us about something nice you did for someone else. Don’t be shy. If you’ve done something like this tell the world about it… or at least tell the rideshare world.
‘Largest’ class action in country as lawsuit against Uber goes national [SMH.com.au]
Sum and Substance: A major class action against Uber will be opened up to another three states, which could make it the largest class action in Australian history. Law firm Maurice Blackburn is widening its Victorian lawsuit against Uber to thousands of taxi and hire-car drivers, operators and licence holders in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.
Lawyers will allege the ride-share app engaged in conspiracy by unlawful means, causing harm to drivers and operators in the industry. The case, which will be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court, has 1200 people registered in Victoria so far.
… Lawyers will also seek compensation for the devaluing of taxi and hire car licence plates since 2014. Ms O’Shea said Uber should not be allowed to “come in and not comply with the rules and get an advantage”. “It’s quite clear that they managed to obtain market share and build their business by operating unlawfully,” she said….
My Take: Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Uber’s troubles with taxi drivers continue to grow. It’s a familiar refrain by now. Drivers say Uber didn’t play by the rules and got a leg up on the industry. Drivers hire a lawyer. More drivers join the suit. Uber eventually settles and drivers get a little, while the lawyers get a lot.
And somewhere, off in the distance, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his merry band of early investors are counting their money – for TK the haul is somewhere north of $5 billion from this heist.
Downtown Minneapolis to designate pickup zones for Uber, Lyft at bar close [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
Sum and Substance: Minneapolis wants to designate a zone for Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up downtown nightclubbers and bar patrons at the end of the night, according to the city.
The ride-share zone, which hasn’t been identified but could debut as early as next month, is part of a larger effort by the city to control the chaos of cars, public transportation and pedestrians that is unleashed in downtown’s warehouse district at bar close at 2 a.m., officials said.
Johnson said the downtown pickup zone would look similar to what Washington, D.C., has tested in Dupont Circle and other popular areas. The experiment would run long enough for the city to gather data and learn where else they may want to try it, he said.
Cramer said downtown has long struggled with traffic control at bar-closing time. “It’s almost like all hell is breaking loose,” he said. Drivers from Lyft and Uber were contributing to that, he said, by stopping and waiting for customers in inconvenient places, including on the light-rail tracks.
“We’re trying … to make it a friendlier, more conducive environment for people to get out of the Warehouse District,” he said. “Having a better, more orderly way to get Uber and Lyft in and out was part of that.”
My Take: This has always been the dread zone for drivers – trying to find your pax in the midst of a crowd of unruly drunks at 2 a.m. Therefore, this seems to make a lot of sense to me. Let’s just hope the drunks can figure out their way to the right pickup zones. Otherwise, it will just create another layer of chaos. It would help too if the cops showed a little more love to the drivers, but don’t hold your breath on that one.
Lyft vs. Uber: Which Is Best for Riders and Drivers in 2018? [TheStreet.com]
Sum and Substance: The ride-hailing industry is flying high these days, with two primary competitors – Uber and Lyft – facing off for supremacy in a combative marketplace.
Ride-sharing consumers seem to like what they see from both companies. Uber is on top in terms of customer usage – it had 41.8 million user rides in March, 2018, compared to 32 million for Lyft. Additionally, customer loyalty for both companies is on the rise, with only 2% of ride-sharing consumers switching their preferred ride-share app on their mobile phones.
Still, both companies offer ride-seeking consumers similar experiences. For instance, both companies offer their services via mobile apps, and the price for a ride is fairly similar for both Uber and Lyft. That said, the customer experiences do differ for customers who rely on Uber or Lyft, and it’s worth knowing how each ride-sharing company compares and contrasts with one another.
My Take: Experienced drivers won’t find a lot new in this article, but the fact that it’s appearing in TheStreet.com, a mostly financial publication, is significant. It underlines just how much anticipation there is for the long awaited IPO, now scheduled for 2019 for both companies.
Design in Dubai, Mobility in LA [KCRW]
Sum and Substance: An emerging theme is that oil unites Southern California and the Persian Gulf…
And now oil destroys. In recognition that the car and convenience-based lifestyle derived from the gloopy black stuff is no longer tenable in either Dubai or LA, efforts are underway to ring in the changes.
Rossant founded LA CoMotion, a conference and showcase of alternative transportation held mid-November in LA. It was attended by mayors, transit planners and mobility designers from all over the world.
“We firmly believe, and many people share this belief that, one, there is a mobility revolution that is starting to happen on a global basis. And two, Los Angeles for a wide variety of reasons is going to become one of the critically important epicenters and the kind of ground zero of that revolution,” Rossant said…
Rossant outlined how dockless electric scooters are just the beginning of this mobility revolution, which may lead to eVTOLs: electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft — “a big drone which can take passengers and it will be electric, it will be silent, it will be pilotless ultimately” — and in one vision of the future, Rossant says, “you’ll hop in one of these electric flying vehicles and it’ll take you from downtown to Santa Monica in six minutes.”
Editor’s Note: This is an interesting and thought-provoking radio segment featuring LA CoMotion, about LA as a mobility pioneer. This piece links LA and Dubai, two cities built around the car, and the potential for a mobility revolution.
How Fair is Your Uber Fare? [The Ringer – YouTube]
Sum and Substance: Uber has billed itself as a convenient transportation solution for cities and passengers, but how sustainable is its business model? Are the company’s drivers earning what they should? Can Uber survive increasing competition and prohibitive city taxes? This episode of Ringer PhD, written by Victor Luckerson and narrated by Sean Fennessey, breaks down where your money goes when you hail a ride and the challenges facing the Silicon Valley giant.
Editor’s Note: A great video bringing up something we discuss here a lot on RSG – are drivers earning what they should be? This six-minute video answers that question, plus the challenges facing Uber and its business model.
Readers, what do you think of this week’s round up?
-John @ RSG
Latest posts by John Ince (see all)
- Is the Gig Economy All It’s Cracked Up to Be? - January 19, 2019
- Are Uber Air Taxis Right Around the Corner? Not So Fast… - January 12, 2019
- Uber’s IPO – How Will 2019 Affect Uber’s Plan To Go Public? - January 5, 2019