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Uber, lyft and other taxis

LYFT WILL PAY YOU TO DITCH YOUR CAR. WILL IT WORK?

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WHAT WOULD IT take for you to give up your car? An all-access pass to a bicycle, maybe, plus some safe lanes to ride in? A smartphone, stocked with apps for cheap ride-hail services? A competent public transit system? A chauffeur, willing to drive you around instead? Lyft, the transportation service provider that has always said its goal is to get more Americans out of their personal cars, would like to find out.

On Wednesday, Lyft announced that it would expand its “Ditch Your Car Challenge,” an attempt to both promote its services—the company makes the whole idea of not owning a car a little easier, goes the argument—and to continue to cast itself as a traffic-busting, city-friendly transportation option.

That reputation has taken a bit of a hit lately. A report published by former New York City transportation official Bruce Schaller this summer suggests that Uber and Lyft have added 5.7 billion miles driven across nine US cities in the past six years. People might not be ditching their cars after all, but simply generating more miles and more emissions, as drivers circle to find passengers and clog up lanes, bus stops, and cycling paths with their pickups and drop-offs.

Which is partly why Lyft is going multimodal. The challenge (OK, technically more like a sweepstakes) works like this: Roughly 2,000 participants from 35 cities (including Miami, New York, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, along with Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee) will apply to be randomly chosen to pledge to ditch their cars for a month. In exchange for their fidelity, they’ll receive $300 in Lyft Shared credits, a one-month Zipcar car-share membership and $100 drive credit, $105 in public transit fares, and $45 to go toward a bike-share option. (These figures might vary slightly by market.) The catch: Participants have to actually own a car to ditch.

“In order to get someone out of their vehicle and saving money, using more sustainable modes, they need to have a range of options—it’s not just about one,” says John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and cofounder. So it makes sense that Lyft recently has made a number of big moves in the not-a-car space. In addition to its rebranded and reconfigured shared ride option (now Lyft Shared instead of Lyft Line), the ride hailer now owns Motivate, the largest bike-share network in the US. It’s gotten into scooting too, launching pink-striped service in Denver and Santa Monica, California, with the pledge of more scooters on the way. Plus, the company announced over the summer that it will offer public transit integration, allowing users to plan train or bus trips from within the app.

There’s reason to believe that Zimmer’s strategy will work—for some people. Research has suggested that car-share alone can help a few urban dwellers make the big decision to reduce or eliminate their permanent wheels. A 2016 study by UC Berkeley researchers, sponsored by the US Transportation Department and the company Car2Go, found that 2 percent to 5 percent of active members in five North American cities had sold their vehicles because of the ride-share option. Some older work by some of that same research team suggested that car-sharing is particularly good at convincing users to nix their older, less-efficient vehicles, the sort that clog up the air.

But transportation research also suggests that challenges like Lyft’s might not touch upon the most interesting, and unfortunately, harder to measure population: Those who choose not to buy cars at all because there are better options available. In that 2016 Car2Go study, between 7 percent to 10 percent of users reported they hadn’t bought a vehicle because alternatives were available. It’s not ditch your car—it’s choose not to have a car to ditch in the first place.

Of course, Lyft, like other mobility firms before it, is trying to learn about the quirks of consumer behavior too. An earlier iteration of this challenge ran in Chicago in August, and though Zimmer says his team still isn’t done crunching the numbers, he’s encouraged by the enthusiasm. More than 1,000 people signed up for the 100 slots available, he adds, and at least one—a user named George—“is in the middle of selling his car,” according to Zimmer.

The data collected during that Chicago experiment, and the one launched this week, should prove especially useful to Lyft as it continues to lean into multimodality. The company already has started to experiment with Lyft subscriptions, which offer users discounted or even unlimited rides over a set number of days or weeks.

“Nothing locked in or determined now, but yes: The general idea for us making that acquisition and adding these other modes is so that we can provide an all-in solution for you that is more affordable and convenient than driving yourself,” says Zimmer. But what sorts of modes do people like, and where? (The New York market probably looks real different from Houston.) Do they want more bike rides, or more car-share trips? How much are they willing to pay for an everything subscription?

This challenge could help it find out. And if the ride-hailing company has its way, you’ll either ditch your car or never buy one at all, because the all-powerful pink app would contain all you need.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/lyft-will-pay-ditch-your-car-will-it-work/

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Lyft Is Another Step Closer to Driverless Ridesharing

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Ridesharing company Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) inched a little bit closer toward self-driving ridesharing last week when it said in a blog post that it’s adding Chrysler Pacifica hybrids to its autonomous vehicle (AV) testing fleet and opening a new self-driving vehicle test facility.

The new facility, located in East Palo Alto, California, will allow the company to increase the number of AV tests it can run. It will also let the company test how the systems do with different road configurations, including intersections, merging lanes, traffic lights, and similar challenges. The company said in the post that the new facility will let Lyft “further accelerate the speed of innovation.”

Lyft says that it’s driving four times more autonomous miles per quarter than it was just six months ago and has about 400 employees worldwide working on self-driving tech. That figure is likely to expand, considering that Lyft has more than 40 autonomous vehicle job openings listed on its website.

In addition to the new facility, Lyft said that it’s adding Pacifica minivans to its AV fleet, which is the same vehicle that Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, uses for its public self-driving ridesharing project and AV tests. Lyft said that, “The minivan’s size and functionality provide our team with significant flexibility to experiment with the self-driving rideshare experience.”

Why does all this matter for Lyft’s autonomous-vehicle future? Because to have a successful, public self-driving ridesharing fleet in the coming years, Lyft needs to lay the groundwork right now.

Isn’t Lyft already doing AV testing?

Lyft is, of course, already working on AV testing. The company’s original self-driving test facility has been up and running since early 2018. The company also started a partnership with Waymo earlier this year to test autonomous ridesharing. Additionally, Lyft also works with Aptiv, an AV tech company, and together they’ve created “the largest publicly available commercial self-driving program in the country” and have completed more than 75,000 rides through the partnership.

But the recent announcements by Lyft show that the company is taking its AV focus a bit further. The Pacifica minivans have been used by Waymo’s AV ridesharing program in Phoenix for more than a year now, making them a proven choice for shuttling around ride-hailing passengers. Lyft may not be ready to launch a wide-scale autonomous ridesharing service just yet, but testing out these vehicles likely means that it’s moving past earlier stages of AV testing and is now looking at how its next-generation self-driving tech can handle new vehicles.

Why this matters for Lyft

Lyft and other ride-hailing companies, including Uber, are keeping a close eye on self-driving developments and testing out the technologies themselves because it could eventually become an integral part of their business model. Research from Intel predicts that the AV ridesharing market could be worth $3.7 trillion by 2050.

Additionally, as regulations surrounding ridesharing drivers continue to increase, Lyft is likely looking to AVs to eventually replace some human drivers. Just a few months ago, the state of California introduced a bill that could pave the way for independent contractors, including Lyft’s drivers, to be reclassified as employees. If a version of the bill becomes law and other states follow California’s lead, it could significantly increase operating costs for Lyft. That could be bad news for the company, which is unprofitable right now and hoping to be in the black just two years from now.

While Lyft’s announcements may not seem all that significant right now, investors should know that these baby steps moving the company closer to AV ridesharing could have huge results in the coming years. For now, investors should be pleased that Lyft is beefing up its own AV testing. Each move the company makes now means that it’ll be much more ready for a self-driving ridesharing future.

Source www.nasdaq.com

By Chris Neiger

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Uber fined $650 million by New Jersey over driver classification

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New Jersey is the latest state to say Uber’s drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that because of this misclassification, the ride-hailing company owes it roughly $650 million in unemployment taxes and disability insurance, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Department of Labor reportedly has been trying to get unpaid employment taxes from Uber going back as far as 2015, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg Law. It said the company owed the state $523 million in overdue taxes along with another $119 million in interest and penalties for the last four years. Uber disputes these findings.

“We are challenging this preliminary but incorrect determination,” an Uber spokesman said in an email. “Because drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

Driver classification is an issue that government regulators have been taking a closer look at over the past year. California passed a law in September that could require Uber and other on-demand companies to reclassify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1. New York, Oregon and Washington state have considered similar legislation.

Uber, Lyft and several other tech companies have vowed to fight the California law, collectively putting more than $90 million behind a ballot initiative that’ll take the issue to voters next November. Many drivers have said this move is a slap in the face as they struggle to earn a living wage.

Uber’s and Lyft’s business models depend on bringing aboard hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, whose labor is typically cheaper than that of employees. That’s because Uber and Lyft drivers supply and maintain their own cars and also pay for their own health care and benefits, such as sick days or overtime pay.New Jersey is the latest state to say Uber’s drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that because of this misclassification, the ride-hailing company owes it roughly $650 million in unemployment taxes and disability insurance, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Department of Labor reportedly has been trying to get unpaid employment taxes from Uber going back as far as 2015, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg Law. It said the company owed the state $523 million in overdue taxes along with another $119 million in interest and penalties for the last four years. Uber disputes these findings.

“We are challenging this preliminary but incorrect determination,” an Uber spokesman said in an email. “Because drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

Driver classification is an issue that government regulators have been taking a closer look at over the past year. California passed a law in September that could require Uber and other on-demand companies to reclassify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1. New York, Oregon and Washington state have considered similar legislation.

Uber, Lyft and several other tech companies have vowed to fight the California law, collectively putting more than $90 million behind a ballot initiative that’ll take the issue to voters next November. Many drivers have said this move is a slap in the face as they struggle to earn a living wage.

Uber’s and Lyft’s business models depend on bringing aboard hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, whose labor is typically cheaper than that of employees. That’s because Uber and Lyft drivers supply and maintain their own cars and also pay for their own health care and benefits, such as sick days or overtime pay.

 

“New Jersey is sending a message that the state’s labor laws aren’t dictated by corporations,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a statement. “It’s a stinging rebuke of the architects of the gig economy, and we hope it permeates across other sectors.”

Even if Uber’s drivers were determined to be employees rather than independent contractors, Uber said the $650 million New Jersey tax fine would be too high — particularly if it’s based on what the company has earned in the state. Uber didn’t disclose the revenue it generated in New Jersey over the past four years, but its combined revenue for all the markets where it operated in 2018 was $11.3 billion.

 

 

 

Source www.cnet.com

By Dara Kerr

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Adams Clinical removes hurdle to clinical trial participation

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How Adams Clinical increased retention and streamlined operations by switching to Uber.

One of the hardest parts of conducting a clinical trial is identifying willing participants. Once a participant is identified, strict qualifications and an often-lengthy time commitment limits who can participate, and a lack of access to transportation can make it difficult for participants to commit to and complete the study. To help improve recruitment and retention rates, Adams Clinical offered taxi rides to their participants. However, this solution became a burden on operational efficiency since taxis were only accessible to participants who lived close by and required the staff to pay at the end of each ride.

Finding the perfect transportation solution with Uber Health

To expand their transportation offering, Adams Clinical became an early beta partner with Uber in 2016. The team started using Uber’s web dashboard to arrange and pay for rides for participants with just a few clicks. Over the three years of this partnership, the switch to Uber Health simplified operational management, while reducing time spent on recruitment with increased retention rates. The easy-to-use Uber Health dashboard tracked all the rides and processed payments from one centralized interface, allowing the staff to arrange rides without the hassle of paying at the end of each trip. This flexibility, plus the extensive reach of Uber driver-partners in the Boston area, provided Adams Clinical with the transportation solution needed to successfully manage their participants in need of rides—which removed the headache from recruiting and retaining their study participants.

The result: Improved retention rates, simplified financial records, and an overall lift in team morale

By teaming with Uber Health, Adams Clinical enjoys a number of key benefits including:

• Expanded Recruitment—Using Uber Health cut down the length of enrollment by providing a larger pool to recruit from, resulting in a 5 to 10 percent reduction in recruitment time over the last two years. 

• Centralized Billing—All rides are charged to one company credit card, which is then processed at the end of each month to streamline the amount of administrative effort required.

• Reliable Service—Each ride is tracked in the dashboard so the team knows when the participant will be arriving to help keep the rest of the study on schedule.

• Improved Retention—In the first two years of the partnership with Uber, Adams Clinical estimated up to 20 percent fewer people dropped out of a trial when transportation was arranged to and from the clinic.

• Financial Accountability—Details for each ride are available in the dashboard, and can be downloaded to a spreadsheet, offering convenient management with trial-specific reporting per participant.

• Easy to Use—Using Uber Health has been easy for both staff and participants, even among populations without smartphones or passengers new to Uber.

 

by Kendall Brown

Source uber.com

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