Weekly Round-Up Uber Increases Safety Features For Female Passengers

Uber is increasing the safety of its female passengers who take rides at night. Minneapolis City Council is considering postponing the minimum wage ordinance to try to reach an agreement with Uber and Lyft.

Meanwhile, DoorDash launches a benefits program, Tesla is changing plans, and Cruise is back with Robotaxi tests.

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

Uber Boosts Safety Features Aimed At Women Passengers


Uber Technologies (UBER.N), opens new tab, said on Wednesday that it is boosting its safety features for passengers around the world, as it looks to minimize risk and ensure security for women at night.

Uber Boosts Safety Features Aimed At Women Passengers
Uber Boosts Safety Features Aimed At Women Passengers.

The features allow passengers during a ride to select up to four safety preferences including encrypted audio recordings, PIN verification and live location sharing.

Uber has been facing scrutiny for years regarding its responses to thousands of alleged assaults by drivers, with complaints ranging from failure to conduct proper background checks on drivers to inadequate safety training.

My Take

It’s a little off saying these are just for women. They are safety precautions that would benefit any rider taking a ride at any time. I’m curious about the audio recordings, because doesn’t the law differ by state as far as who can be recorded and when?

It’s great that Uber is taking more strides to ensure the safety of their passengers. We come across horror stories constantly while curating the news each week. The world is definitely a dangerous place, so any measures taken to ensure safety are appreciated.

Minneapolis City Council Members May Postpone Start Of Uber, Lyft Minimum Wage Ordinance By Two Months


With a vote looming this week to reconsider Minneapolis’ new rideshare minimum wage law, City Council President Elliott Payne and Council Members Katie Cashman and Aurin Chowdhury say they will seek to push back the ordinance’s effective date by two months, to July 1.

Minneapolis City Council Members May Postpone Start Of Uber, Lyft Minimum Wage Ordinance By Two Months
Minneapolis City Council Members May Postpone Start Of Uber, Lyft Minimum Wage Ordinance By Two Months.

The council members say the delay would allow them to collaborate with state lawmakers and provide more time for new rideshare startups looking to enter the metro market. Multiple companies have expressed interest in operating in the Twin Cities to fill the gaps left by Uber and Lyft, which have pledged to leave the city once the ordinance takes effect.

The city’s rideshare ordinance, passed last month over Mayor Jacob Frey’s veto, has caused increasing consternation among business groups and disability and senior advocates as its start date of May 1 nears.

My Take

This has been dragging on for a while. I just want a conclusion where Lyft and Uber stay, and their drivers are better compensated. Can we get there? Is it possible?

Sounds like the new thought is to wait until July 1 to make a final decision/enact any ordinances that are decided upon.

Perhaps the delay will help the council members better understand all sides of the issue and come up with a more comprehensive ordinance.

DoorDash Launches Benefits Program for Pennsylvania Delivery Drivers


DoorDash Inc. is paying additional money to its delivery couriers in Pennsylvania for a limited time to cover some benefits that are normally reserved for full-time employees.

DoorDash will make monthly contributions starting in July to an individual savings account managed by the benefits platform Stride. The funds can be used for retirement savings or paying off health insurance premiums, for example.

Drivers who earn at least $1,000, excluding tips, on DoorDash in the second quarter will be eligible to receive deposits equal to 4% of their earnings, according to the company, which is running a pilot program from April through September with the backing of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.

My Take

If this works for Pennsylvania couriers, perhaps it will come to other markets. These added benefits would help with driver loyalty. If I can get benefits from one company but not others, I would be more likely to do the majority of my work for the company offering the benefits; Especially if it’s based on my earnings.

Learn more about Stride benefits: The Easy and Affordable Way for Drivers to Find Insurance: Stride.

Sign up for Stride’s mileage tracking app here. Tracking your mileage is important. You can deduct your mileage from your taxes to help offset your earnings.

Who Else Misses the Old Days of Rideshare?


Do you remember the good ol’ days of rideshare? RSG Senior Contributor Sergio definitely does! He spoke about this topic and gig economy worker driver at the Curbivore conference a few weeks ago. What are your thoughts drivers? ⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #uber #rideshare #sidehustles #gigeconomy #loyaltycheck

♬ Smoggy Mass – DJ BAI

Personally, I started driving for Uber in 2016, and it was lucrative. The sign-on bonus was significant. The earnings were consistent. The weekly bonuses were abundant. Tips were hit or miss, but that’s still pretty standard. I could earn enough money to cover my rent and bills without completely burning out.

Times have certainly changed. The amount drivers are earning has gone down since then. There are guarantees instead of bonuses when you sign up to drive. And there aren’t consistent incentives anymore.

When did you start rideshare driving? How different is it now from when you first started?

Tesla Is Reportedly Focusing On Robotaxis Over Its Planned Budget EV


Tesla has scrapped plans to make an affordable electric vehicle (EV), according to Reuters. CEO Elon Musk said as recently as January that he was “optimistic” the low-cost EV would arrive in the second half of 2025. The automaker will instead reportedly “go all in” on robotaxis, which Musk has described as the future of transportation.

Tesla Is Reportedly Focusing On Robotaxis Over Its Planned Budget EV
Tesla Is Reportedly Focusing On Robotaxis Over Its Planned Budget EV.

The canceled entry-level EV project — often called “Model 2” — was reportedly codenamed “Redwood.” The automaker had predicted a weekly production volume of 10,000 vehicles, and Musk said, “We’ll be sleeping on the line” to make it a reality. He had previously claimed Tesla was working on two new EV models expected to sell up to five million units annually.

For nearly two decades, the CEO has described his long-term goal as using luxury vehicles to build Tesla’s brand before using those profits to fund budget models.

 “When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car,” Musk wrote in a 2006 “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” memo.

In the following years, he often echoed those sentiments to customers and investors.

My Take

Consumers have been waiting for an affordable “budget” option for EVs from Tesla. This is kind of a low blow that the budget option is being shelved so they can focus on robotaxis. Especially when considering companies like Waymo and Cruise have been focusing on robotaxis for much longer and have active cars in markets already.

I feel like Tesla would have made more by having an affordable EV option than by spending money on robotaxis when their future is still unknown. With the government and companies like Uber and Lyft pushing for zero emissions in the near future, affordable EVs are going to be needed by the general public.

Cruise Will Resume Robotaxi Tests After One Of Its Cars Ran Someone Over


Cruise has announced that it’s resuming tests for its fleet of self-driving taxis in Phoenix, Arizona, though not with passengers just yet. The autonomous vehicle maker says it will start with humans behind the wheel, with no passengers and no autonomous driving mechanisms engaged.

Cruise Will Resume Robotaxi Tests After One Of Its Cars Ran Someone Over
Cruise Will Resume Robotaxi Tests After One Of Its Cars Ran Someone Over.

In California, lawmakers banned the GM subsidiary from operating its vehicles in the state after one of them ran over a San Francisco pedestrian and dragged them over 20 feet in October after another vehicle threw the victim into the robotaxi’s path.

That was just weeks after another incident where one of Cruise’s vehicles collided with a fire truck after failing to properly yield to the truck’s emergency signals.

The company’s been dealing with the fallout ever since Cruise first paused operations nationwide and issued a software update to 950 of its vehicles to change how the cars respond to crash events amidst multiple investigations into the incidents.

They’ve caused something of a mass exodus in the company, starting with then CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt and nine other leaders. Cruise also laid off 24 percent of its workforce shortly after.

My Take

Any accident and death is tragic, but how many accidents happen in human-driven vehicles on a regular basis? An accident shouldn’t stop testing for autonomous vehicles.

Overall, it’s possible that once the kinks are worked out of these kinds of cars, they will be much safer than human-driven vehicles.

Only time will tell the future of autonomous vehicles, but they need the opportunities to test and adapt and update in order to continue improving.

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