Weekly Round-Up: Bird Files for Bankruptcy

Once a prominent company with bikes across the country, Bird has filed for bankruptcy after a few rocky years.

On a higher note, Uber is partnering with Tesla to offer drivers a $3,000 discount, Waymo has reached 7.1 million driverless miles, and the “Uber of Flying” has arrived.

Join RSG Contributor Paula Lemar as she breaks down the top headlines in this week’s rideshare news.

Bird, Once Primed To Be The Uber Of Electric Scooters And Valued At $2.5 Billion, Just Filed For Bankruptcy


Electric scooter pioneer Bird, who once sought to become the Uber of electric scooters, just declared bankruptcy.

Bird, Once Primed To Be The Uber Of Electric Scooters And Valued At $2.5 Billion, Just Filed For Bankruptcy
Bird, Once Primed To Be The Uber Of Electric Scooters And Valued At $2.5 Billion, Just Filed For Bankruptcy.

The urban transport company said on Wednesday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida after several years of financial problems.

Bird was one of the first companies to rent out electric scooters in city centers and rode a Silicon Valley craze for micro-mobility to a $2.5 billion valuation in 2019.

The company said Wednesday that its services would continue to operate as normal while bankruptcy proceedings, which do not include Bird’s European and Canadian subsidiaries, are ongoing.

My Take

Before the pandemic, it would have been standard to walk through the medium to large city of your choice and see Bird bikes everywhere, available for use.

They were an affordable alternative to ordering an Uber, Lyft, or taxi and more comfortable than public transportation in many instances.

Then, Covid hit and people were staying indoors and not traveling, and any kind of shared devices were basically considered the worst. It’s not like these bikes went through a sanitizing process after each ride was completed.

Some companies and businesses were able to pivot and make it out of the slump of the pandemic, but others suffered beyond repair.

Uber Partners With Tesla To Offer Drivers $3000 Discount



Uber and Tesla have partnered to give Uber drivers up to $3000 Discount on a new Tesla. Join RSG contributor Chris as he shares the details and fine print of the discount as well as his overall thoughts on the program, but what are your thoughts?

My Take

NOW we’re talking! I’ve been saying for months that drivers need better incentives to go EV. This is what I call a good incentive.

In the video, Chris does a great job of breaking down the deal, such as the stipulation that you have to purchase the vehicle through the Uber app marketplace. It’s also based on your status as a driver and is tiered based on your status.

Watch the whole video to see what level you qualify for and any deadlines you need to adhere to.

In the comments section, some drivers expressed concerns about qualifying credit reports and the fact that payments for the car will be through the app/marketplace, potentially locking drivers into using the Uber app until the car is paid off.

Some drivers even expressed a concern about getting kicked off the app or deactivated and being unable to continue making payments.

Some drivers would also like this opportunity to be opened up to all EVs and not just Teslas. That kind of incentive could go a long way for people.

These are all valid concerns that drivers should be aware of and consider before jumping on this opportunity.

Uber’s CEO Hides Driver Pay Cuts To Boost Profits


Uber is on a roll. Through the first three quarters of this year, Uber racked up over $2.8 billion in operating cash flow while posting a 21% increase in global bookings. Investors have taken notice; Uber’s stock price has more than doubled year-to-date.

Uber’s CEO Hides Driver Pay Cuts To Boost Profits
Uber’s CEO Hides Driver Pay Cuts To Boost Profits.

On his most recent earnings call, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi attributed Uber’s success to “the growth flywheel we built, coupled with rigorous cost discipline, enabling us to generate strong leverage to exit the year with tremendous momentum and reliable execution.”

But cutting through corporate-speak, Dara (as he prefers to be called) failed to mention the biggest factor driving Uber’s growing profitability. Dara has gone back to an old trick in Uber’s playbook: cutting driver pay.

But this time, with a clever change in how the company pays its US drivers, disguising yet another pay cut and allowing Uber to take a much bigger cut of passenger fares for itself.

My Take

RSG’s Sergio Avedian and Chris Gerace interviewed Len Sherman, the author of this article, on their podcast Show Me The Money Club. Check out the interview:


As mentioned, Len’s article was originally published, then quickly taken down and reworked with Uber’s response to Forbes’ original request for information.

Here are some commenter responses to the video:

“Great interview!!  Len is super knowledgeable, and could be an asset to helping drivers leverage Uber and Lyft in raising pay for drivers. Now, how to make that work??  However, I still believe the only way to get fairer pay is, getting legislators involved. We really need the protective laws implemented in WA state, to be Universal for all states.

How can we get our leaders in all states to get on board with those guarantees?  Driver pay has been diluted to the point where we are subsidizing the cost of rideshare. We are having to work 7 days a week, and work 13-16 hours and more to make up the difference in pay.” – @brkitdwn

@richrigney4610 said, “Of Course Uber is taking more of us Driver’s money, while charging the riders more.”

And @garylivingston144 commented, “Has professor Len ever seen a Uber Year end earnings statement? Can Len or anyone else explain to me how Uber reports income for delivery people?

Uber does reports income one way and Doordash and Grubhub report income another way. Can Len explain to me is Uber doing the numbers correctly and DD and Grub doing the incorrectly? Or is it the other way around?”

What do you think of Len’s take on Uber drivers’ pay cuts and their earnings? Share your thoughts in the comments here or on the YouTube video.

Waymo Has 7.1 Million Driverless Miles — How Does Its Driving Compare To Humans?


For years, Waymo has been claiming that its driverless vehicles have the potential to be safer than humans. Now, the company says it has the data to back it up.

Waymo analyzed 7.13 million fully driverless miles in three cities — Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — and compared the data to human driving benchmarks to determine whether its cars were involved in fewer injuring-causing and police-reported crashes.

And it was the first time the company studied miles from fully driverless operations only rather than a mix of autonomous and human-monitored driving.

The conclusion? Waymo’s driverless cars were 6.7 times less likely than human drivers to be involved a crash resulting in an injury, or an 85 percent reduction over the human benchmark, and 2.3 times less likely to be in a police-reported crash, or a 57 percent reduction.

That translates to an estimated 17 fewer injuries and 20 fewer police-reported crashes compared to if a human driver would have driven the same distance in the cities where Waymo operates.

My Take

The good news is that driverless vehicles do seem to be safer, or at least less likely to be involved in an accident, than vehicles with a human driver. That’s kind of the point, right? To have safer rides?

There’s obviously still a long way to go before we can expect autonomous vehicles to “takeover,” but the studies here are showing that the future of AVs is viable.

Keep learning more about the potential AV takeover with Jay Cradeur’s article Will Self-Driving Cars Really Ever Take My Job? 

We’ve already seen the timelines change from when companies like Waymo and Uber originally said autonomous vehicles would be the norm. However, these companies still continue to make big strides to build business and data to make this more and more of a possibility in the future.

Again, one big issue that I see is that there will always be issues where the human instinct will beat out a robot. But only time will tell.

‘Uber Of Flying’: Private Plane Trips Are Here – And Flights Cost From $102


If you ever dreamed of flying a private airplane, that could now become a reality – at an affordable price.

KinectAir, a digital platform that started offering on-demand private air travel in 2019, is now booking private aircraft bargains.

“Gone are the days when you need a broker to find aircraft to coordinate where you want to go,” a spokesperson for KinectAir told FOX Television Stations.

“You’ll be surprised to see how flying with friends, family, or business partners in the privacy of your aircraft is often less than a first-class ticket on an impersonal airline. We’re luxury at pocket-friendly prices.”

The airline allows passengers to create an itinerary and choose an aircraft type to fit their budget.

My Take

I was wondering when this would happen. We saw helicopter rides, tank rides, sleigh rides, and more in the past. But this is the first I’ve heard where private flights are being turned into “Uber” rides.

Personally, if a flight only cost me $102, I’d be all over it. At that price, I almost wouldn’t even care where I was going. The downside is that the article mentions 50-500 miles.

So, it could get me from Minneapolis to Chicago, but not much further than that, unfortunately. The upside, of course, is the speed in which I’d get to Chicago as opposed to driving there myself or paying for a flight on a large airline.

RSG in the News This Week

Must Listen Or Watch RSG Content