Uber Prop Could Mean Lower Pay for Some Drivers

No one likes the idea of lower pay, but a study of the new proposition backed by Uber and Lyft in Massachusetts may end up cutting driver pay instead of boosting it as the proposition implies it would. Meanwhile, overseas in Europe, drivers in the UK are protesting and drivers in Brussels are striking. Get the latest info from this week’s news in the roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins.

A new Massachusetts proposition pushed by Uber and Lyft could mean some drivers only make $4.82 an hour, study says (Business Insider)

Summary: A Massachusetts proposition put forward by gig-economy companies including Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash could result in drivers and riders taking home just a quarter of the hourly minimum wage, a study from UC-Berkeley says.

The ballot proposition would count drivers and riders as contracted workers rather than employees, and could appear on the November 2022 ballot.

The proposition states it will guarantee workers for rideshare companies earn at least 120% of the minimum wage, which the researchers said would work out to $18 per hour — minimum wage in Massachusetts is set to increase to $15 per hour in 2023, from $13.50 per hour currently.

But analyzing data from Uber and Lyft, the researchers said five loopholes in the proposition would cut into workers’ wages….

My Take: This is essentially the same proposition that Uber and Lyft backed in California, at least the pay portion is.

What no one fully understood then was the definition that was being used for which hours counted toward “engaged” hours, which are the ones being used to determine the hourly wage. It’s not simply on-app time. It’s when a driver has accepted a fare and is either on their way to pick up the passenger or the passenger is actively in their vehicle.

With this key distinction, this study is showing that only paying the 120% of minimum wage for engaged hours, would equate to drivers earning around $4.82 per hour as a part-time driver or closer to $6.74 an hour as a full-time driver.

Of course, these are all estimates and will not be the case for each individual driver. As more develops, let’s keep an eye on this.

GIANT Partners With InstaCart to Launch “Instant Delivery” From All Stores (BCTV)

Summary: As part of its omnichannel growth, The GIANT Company together with Instacart, the leading online grocery platform in North America, announced the launch of GIANT Instant Delivery and MARTIN’S Instant Delivery, providing customers with convenience delivery chainwide. With convenience as one of the most popular categories on Instacart, GIANT Instant Delivery provides customers with fresh groceries, convenience items, and household essentials from early morning to late at night in as fast as 30 minutes…

GIANT Instant Delivery and MARTIN’S Instant Delivery join Instacart’s Convenience Hub, a new product feature that streamlines the convenience shopping experience for customers. Convenience delivery allows customers to access the essentials they need in as fast as 30 minutes – when they need just a few items quickly – supplementing the weekly grocery shop….

My Take: First of all, can you really call it “instant” delivery when it’s 30 minutes? Yes, that’s fast, but not even as fast as some delivery companies we’ve written about recently, like Getir.

All of these delivery companies seem to be competing for the fastest delivery times without likely taking into consideration the person who will be delivering on their behalf. This person will still need to go to the grocery store, shop for the items and deliver them to the customer.

That all takes time. When will it be “fast enough” for these companies—and their customers? Heck, I’m happy with same-day delivery.

Uber Drivers Plan Day Of Protests In The UK (Forbes)

Summary: Uber faces a day of protests from drivers in the UK over working conditions.

The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), a regular critic of the ride-hailing giant, has called for a 24-hour strike by Uber drivers in the UK today with demonstrations organized outside Uber offices in eight cities. It is asking drivers not to log into the app.

The organization was behind the major legal case earlier this year that recategorized Uber drivers in the UK as workers rather than contractors.

Ahead of these protests, the ADCU has claimed that Uber has not fully implemented the Supreme Court ruling. Among its issues is the lack of pay for waiting time and what it calls surveillance and unfair dismissal of drivers….

My Take: I wasn’t able to see any updates on whether or not the protest was considered to be successful or any statistics on how many drivers participated, but we’ll keep an eye on it (comment if you are a UK driver who participated!) I’m hoping they get what they want out of Uber.

Buckle Closes $60M in Funding to Expand Full-Stack Insurance Platform across US (BuckleUp)

Summary: Buckle Corp (the “Company”), an inclusive tech-enabled financial services company, has filed its Regulation D and disclosed it raised $60 million through a Series B funding round led by Volery Capital Partners with participation from Eldridge, Assurant Ventures, as well as HSCM Bermuda and other insiders. As part of this transaction, Volery Capital Partners will join Buckle’s Board of Directors. In addition to the $60 million in Series B financing, HSCM Bermuda also expanded the Company’s surplus term loan from $10 million to $20 million to provide additional capital to support the premium growth of Buckle’s Gateway Insurance Company. Buckle has closed over $100 million in debt and equity funding since inception.

The successful raise underscores Buckle’s stated goal to reimagine financial services for the gig economy. The capital will help the Company scale its pioneering, full-stack insurance-as-a-service platform as Buckle continues to spearhead innovative financial products for the rising middle class across the U.S.

The Company’s core hybrid auto insurance policy for rideshare and delivery drivers uses data from Transportation Network Company (TNC) platforms to underwrite policies. By using rideshare and delivery data instead of credit scores, Buckle’s core, hybrid auto insurance policy helps close the gap created by conventional insurance policies that leave gig workers underinsured or with higher premiums.

My Take: Congrats to Buckle on this latest funding round. If you need a quick reminder on who Buckle is and what they are doing, check out our article Buckle: A Unique Rideshare Insurance Option.

It’s great to see that a company that puts rideshare drivers first is gaining more attention.

In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules (Bloomberg)

Summary: Uber Technologies Inc. paused its services in Brussels on Thursday in what the ride-hailing company called an “unprecedented” joint action with its drivers against a ban on using smartphones when driving.

In a message to clients, Uber said its rides were temporarily suspended because the local government in the Belgian capital didn’t deliver on promises to update the existing legal framework by last summer, the company said.

Current “regulations were drafted in 1995 and include very outdated measures such as the prohibition for drivers to use a smartphone,” Uber said in a blog post warning clients in advance of the disruption. “As a result, drivers who use the Uber app to drive you to your destination receive fines and risk having their vehicles taken away.”…

My Take: I would say this is an interesting twist, but it’s obviously in the best interest of Uber to stand by the drivers in this instance. The whole basis of the Uber app relies on drivers being able to use their cell phones while driving. You take that portion away and Uber will be non-existent.

Do you think Brussels is in the wrong for banning all cell phone use while driving?

-Paula @ RSG