Weekly Round-Up Uber Plans to Increase Driver Access to EVs

Uber continues to work its way toward zero emissions goals with plans to increase driver access to EVs, which is the key to the zero emissions plan.

Meanwhile, DoorDash has a new AI-powered tool that will detect verbal abuse, Lyft’s CEO doesn’t want the government interfering with business, and Minneapolis riders object to Uber and Lyft leaving the city.

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

Uber CEO Outlines Plans For Increasing Driver EV Access, Reducing Emissions At SXSW


Uber’s future will be greener, more affordable, and able to challenge Amazon at its own rapid delivery game, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi predicted while onstage this week at SXSW.

Uber CEO Outlines Plans For Increasing Driver EV Access, Reducing Emissions At SXSW
Uber CEO Outlines Plans For Increasing Driver EV Access, Reducing Emissions At SXSW.

His vision, which he charted out during an interview with the City of Austin’s mayor, Kirk Watson, isn’t entirely new. The company made a commitment in 2020 that all of its trips in the United States and Europe would be zero emissions by the end of the decade.

To achieve that, Uber has to make it easier and cheaper for drivers to access electric vehicles. And Uber has long talked about making its app so “sticky” that consumers turn to it regularly for rides and delivery.

These goals seem a bit more attainable — and higher on the priority list — now that Uber has finally ticked the profitability box. In 2023, the company posted its full-year profit as a public company. And Khosrowshahi appears keen to accelerate.

The sustainability target, which he described as the company’s single most important long-term initiative, is at the top of that list.

My Take

As their lofty goals of zero emissions by 2040 inches closer and closer year over year, it’s not surprising that Uber is doubling down and putting more effort into getting drivers to make the switch. It has to be enticing enough to change the minds of drivers who are set in their ways.

People in general are difficult to move. Once we like one thing, we tend to stick with it for a long time, if not for life. Making the change from gas-powered to EV is a huge deal for a lot of people.

Not only structurally but financially. As long as Uber continues adding on incentives, they’ll see more people make the switch, but it’ll take an enormous effort or just sweeping rules and regulations to get everyone on board with that kind of change.

DoorDash’s New AI-Powered ‘SafeChat+’ Tool Automatically Detects Verbal Abuse


DoorDash hopes to reduce verbally abusive and inappropriate interactions between consumers and delivery people with its new AI-powered feature that automatically detects offensive language.

DoorDash is leveraging AI technology to review in-app conversations and determine if a customer or Dasher is being harassed.
DoorDash is leveraging AI technology to review in-app conversations and determine if a customer or Dasher is being harassed.

Dubbed “SafeChat+,” DoorDash is leveraging AI technology to review in-app conversations and determine if a customer or Dasher is being harassed.

Depending on the scenario, there will be an option to report the incident and either contact DoorDash’s support team if you’re a customer or quickly cancel the order if you’re a delivery person.

If a driver is on the receiving end of the abuse, they can cancel a delivery without impacting their ratings. DoorDash will also send the user a warning to refrain from using inappropriate language.

The company says the AI analyzes more than 1,400 messages a minute and covers “dozens” of languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin. Team members will investigate all incidents recognized by the AI.

DoorDash’s New AI-Powered ‘SafeChat+’ Tool Automatically Detects Verbal Abuse

My Take

This could honestly be a game-changer. People tend to let their mouths fly when they think they are anonymous or if there is no consequence of it. This could help make drivers and customers feel more comfortable with their deliveries.

If a driver is getting belligerent, I would hope it would work that the customer could request a different driver. Just like its shown in the gif, the driver can safely, without repercussions, reassign the order if the customer starts swearing or threatening.

If you’re a Dasher and you’ve seen this in action, please share your experience with us!

Lyft CEO Says Government Shouldn’t Be Involved In Ride-Share Price Setting


Lyft CEO David Risher believes the government shouldn’t be involved in the ride-share price-setting game.

“I think there’s maybe a misunderstanding in the world that central governments can set prices in a way that works,” Risher told FOX Business. The CEO was responding to the Minneapolis City Council voting to mandate a minimum wage for drivers and the Labor Department’s rule that would reclassify millions of gig workers as employees. Lyft has already said the department’s rule, which takes effect on Monday, won’t impact its operations.

“In some industries maybe it’s a good idea… but for something that is happening 800 million times a year, you really don’t want to be in the price-setting game because you’re just going to mess it up, and you’re going to do it worse than, frankly, the market does,” Risher, who took over as CEO in April 2023, continued.

My Take

All the arrows seem to be aimed at Minneapolis right now, even though this kind of legislation has already been enacted in Seattle and New York City, and it’s been broached in Massachusetts and even at the federal level.

While I agree that the government shouldn’t be regulating price setting, there is a minimum wage for a reason, and these companies should abide by that despite claiming they have hired independent contractors. Work is work, and a minimum wage is a minimum wage if you ask me.

Minneapolis Riders Object To Lyft’s, Uber’s Plans To Leave On May 1


The clock is ticking for rideshare options right here in Minneapolis. A recent ordinance passed by the City Council will raise driver wages and has Uber and Lyft claiming they’ll stop services on May 1st.

The ordinance would guarantee drivers get 80% of any canceled rides and earn no less than $5 per ride.

On Saturday, Minneapolis was bustling with crowds from many big events. From college basketball fans to concertgoers, it was the place to be.

Outside First Avenue, where a long line was forming to see Ricky Montgomery in concert, Quinn Hay said it was a no-brainer to ditch her car and catch an Uber to First Avenue.

My Take

Of course, riders are going to be upset by the threat. Yes, we have taxis here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, but they aren’t as clean or reliable as Uber and Lyft rides have become. Taxis also tend to be more expensive.

We don’t live in a walkable city, especially in the winter. Yes, there’s the skyway, which helps, but it’s still complex and confusing, and eventually, you do still have to go outside. Not to mention how sprawling our metro is.

I live too far away from the Cities now to justify taking an Uber or Lyft, assuming I’d even find a driver up here, but when I’m visiting friends, and we decide to go downtown, it makes so much more sense to order a ride to avoid parking and construction. I hope they are empty threats. Losing Uber and Lyft at this point would be detrimental.

RSG in the News This Week

Must Listen Or Watch RSG Content