Forget your sunscreen on the way to the beach? Your Uber ride could save you a trip to the drugstore.
Cargo, a New York-based company founded in 2016, equips ride-hailing drivers with boxes of snacks, drinks and beauty products to offer to passengers.
On Monday, it announced a partnership with Grab, southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing firm, to roll out the service in Singapore. Grab made headlines in March when it bought Uber’s business in the region.
About 1,000 Grab drivers in Singapore will receive Cargo’s boxes starting this week, a service the companies say will eventually expand to other countries in the region.
“All of us spend so much time in ride-share vehicles that it felt like there should be a way to innovate on that experience,” Cargo CEO Jeff Cripe told CNNMoney.
For passengers, using the service is pretty simple: they’ll be able to order products on their phones and add the cost to their fares.
For drivers, it’s a chance to earn more cash on the road. Those offering the “Grab&Go” service could improve their passenger satisfaction ratings and earn as much as an extra $190 each month, according to the companies.
They’ll make money each time a passenger buys an item or takes a free sample from the Cargo box.
“They take no financial risk upfront,” Cripe said. “All that inventory is provided for free.”
Like other ride-hailing companies, Grab is looking for new ways to make money from its tens of millions of customers. The company recently expanded into food delivery and digital payments, encouraging people to use its platform to transfer money to friends and make purchases at restaurants and stores.
Cargo’s partnership with Grab is its first direct arrangement with a ride-hailing firm, though it says it already works independently with thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers in the United States. Uber and Lyft did not respond to requests for comment.
Coca-Cola (KO) and Kellogg (K) are among the retail partners signed up in the United States by Cargo, which says it makes money from distribution deals that can be worth millions of dollars.
Cargo’s approach offers a new distribution channel for retail brands, said Sucharita Kodali, an e-commerce and retail analyst at research firm Forrester.
“The idea is that if people aren’t going to the store, bring the store to them,” she told CNNMoney.
But it could be difficult for startups like Cargo to build a business of significant scale, Kodali added.
“You need an awful lot of cars to get any decent distribution. A single Uber or Lyft driver isn’t going to touch that many people in a day,” she said. “Each car would generate less than a single vending machine.”
Cargo says it aims to reach 25 million passengers in 20,000 vehicles by the end of the year.
Drivers are already using Cargo’s platform in seven US cities, including New York and Chicago. And it says it has plenty of interest from areas where it doesn’t operate yet. A big part of the challenge “is just expanding and actually activating drivers,” Cripe said.
But while the extra money could make a difference for drivers, the revenue from the business is unlikely to be “game-changing” for major ride-hailing firms, Kodali said.
And if it does turn out to be more lucrative than expected, Uber and others could just set up their own platforms and cut Cargo out, she added.
Taxi driver dies after setting himself on fire to protest carpool app
A South Korean taxi driver set himself on fire and died Monday to protest a carpooling service proposed by a company that operates the country’s most popular chat app.
The 57-year-old driver doused himself in a flammable liquid and then lit his clothing while sitting in a taxi near parliament, police and the fire department said.
Unionized taxi drivers have held rallies in the capital, Seoul, to protest the carpooling app proposed by Kakao Mobility, which they say threatens their jobs.
Kakao Mobility, the transportation service arm of top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., said Friday it was testing the carpooling app despite opposition from taxi drivers who want the government to refuse permission for the service.
“We are still in the middle of a tug-of-war against the government to stop the carpool service,” said an official at the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association.
A spokeswoman for Kakao Mobility said the company extended its sympathies to the family of the taxi driver.
“We feel sorry and sad and express our condolences,” the spokeswoman said. She declined further comment.
The transport ministry was not immediately available for comment.
NY: Uber, Lyft drivers secure $17.22 minimum wage in new TLC rules
Tens of thousands of drivers with Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services in the city are set to receive a hefty pay raise.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve the Driver Income and Transparency Rules, which guarantee a minimum hourly wage of $17.22 (after expenses) to more than 80,000 drivers who work for larger app-based companies such as Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno. A higher minimum wage also was set for drivers with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
The new rules mean 96 percent of ride-hail drivers in the city will get an additional $10,000 in income per year, according to the TLC.
“New York City is the first city globally to recognize that the tens of thousands of men and women who are responsible for providing increasingly popular rides that begin with the touch of a screen deserve to make a livable wage and protection against companies from unilaterally reducing it,” TLC chair Meera Joshi said following the vote. “Convenience costs, and going forward, that cost will no longer be borne by the driver.”
Drivers will be paid based on a per-minute, per-mile minimum trip formula once the rules go into effect, which is expected to happen by mid-January 2019.
Ride-hail companies will be responsible for ensuring drivers are paid appropriately based on the new rules. The TLC also will be making a wage calculator available on its website so that drivers can determine how much their employer should be paying them.
Uber and Lyft on Tuesday warned that the new rules stifle competition in the industry and would result in higher fares for customers while decreasing availability.
“Uber supports efforts to ensure that full-time drivers in NYC — whether driving with taxi, limo or Uber — are able to make a living wage, without harming outer borough riders who have been ignored by yellow taxis and underserved by mass transit,” Uber’s director of public affairs Jason Post said. “The TLC’s implementation of the City Council’s legislation to increase driver earnings will lead to higher than necessary fare increases for riders while missing an opportunity to deal with congestion in Manhattan’s central business district.”
The TLC also did not consider that some companies issue driver incentives and bonuses to ensure reliability and accessibility in areas outside of Manhattan when it came up with the new wage formula, according to Post.
Describing the rules as a “step backward for New Yorkers,” Lyft took issue with a loophole in the wage calculator that it said allows companies to petition for their own, lower utilization rate within the formula. The company also argued against an “eleventh-hour” rule addition that sets a different minimum pay rate for trips that take drivers outside of the five boroughs.
“Lyft believes all drivers should earn a livable wage and we are committed to helping drivers reach their goals,” a spokesman for Lyft said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the TLC’s proposed pay rules will undermine competition by allowing certain companies to pay drivers lower wages, and disincentive drivers from giving rides to and from areas outside Manhattan.”
While ride-hail companies oppose the regulations, the Independent Drivers Guild, representing over 70,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in the city, lauded the decision.
“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild.
Via also welcomed the new wage rules on Tuesday.
“As the industry leader in driver earnings in New York City, we are looking forward to working with the TLC on implementing this rule,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Joshi, meanwhile, said that she believes New Yorkers would be willing to pay more and wait a little longer if it meant their drivers are being paid a fair wage.
New York City taxi and rideshare drivers to receive a living wage
We’ve talked before about how hard it is for folks driving for Lyft and Uber to break even. Things aren’t so hot for cab drivers, either: as ridesharing becomes more prevalent by the day, those who own their own taxi or drive for someone else are finding it harder to make a living. The drop in revenue going into the pockets of New York City Taxi medallion owners has been so extreme that drivers have been forced to work 100-hour weeks just to stay out of the red. Others, feeling that their lives were ruined by mounting debt, out of desperation committed suicide. Today, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission decided that they’d do something about it.
Today, New York’s City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission approved measures to enact minimum pay requirements for app-based for-hire vehicles (FHV) like Uber, Lyft, and Juno. The new pay structure is set to take effect early in the new year.
The $26.51 per hour gross pay floor (estimated to amount to $17.22 per hour, less expenses) comes after “growing evidence of declining driver pay” was confirmed by a labor study, commissioned by the TLC, which concluded that 85 percent of drivers in NYC were earning less than the local minimum wage of $15 an hour. The new requirements will increase the average driver’s take-home pay by an estimated $9,600 per year.
Advocacy groups like the Independent Driver’s Guild and Amalgamated Transit Union have celebrated the change. “All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America,” Conigliaro, Jr., founder of IDG, wrote in a press statement.
So of course, rideshare companies are throwing a fit.
According to Gizmodo, Uber thinks it’s fantastic that their drivers will finally be able to make a living wage, but insinuated that the extra cash required to ensure that their employees can afford to eat AND pay the rent would come out of the pockets of those using the rideshare service. Lyft? They’re thrilled that folks can afford to maybe set their kids up at a decent daycare while simultaneously paying all of their bills. But they warn that “the TLC’s proposed pay rules will undermine competition by allowing certain companies to pay drivers lower wages, and disincentive drivers from giving rides to and from areas outside Manhattan.”
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