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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Uber Gains Civil Rights Allies Against New York’s Proposed Freeze: ‘It’s a Racial Issue’

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As president of the New York City League, Arva Rice usually depends on ride-hailing apps similar to Uber and Lyft to achieve her dwelling in Harlem after late-night occasions.

“I’ve been handed up by yellow taxis on quite a few events,” defined Ms. Rice, who’s black. “While you stay in Harlem or Mattress-Stuy, getting house is more durable than it needs to be.”

Black and Latino New Yorkers — and those that stay within the boroughs exterior Manhattan — have lengthy mentioned they aren’t served properly by yellow taxis. Now, a proposal by the Metropolis Council to put a one-year freeze on for-hire car licenses is being opposed as a civil rights situation by organizations such because the Nationwide City League, the Nationwide Motion Community and the N.A.A.C.P.

“I’m attempting to get to work, I’m attempting to get to highschool — I need someone that’s going to select me up,” the Rev. Al Sharpton instructed an viewers on Saturday on the Harlem headquarters of his group, the Nationwide Motion Community.

“Some yellow cabs gained’t even go uptown or to components of Brooklyn,” Mr. Sharpton later mentioned in an interview. “In case you are downtown they gained’t cease.”

The package deal of proposed laws from the Council, which could possibly be voted on as quickly as Aug. eight, would cease new for-hire car licenses whereas the influence of their rising presence was studied. That would result in a cap on the variety of for-hire automobiles, which might be a primary for a serious American metropolis.

There are greater than 100,000 for-hire automobiles in New York Metropolis, up from 63,000 in 2015, based on the town. Greater than 80,000 of them are related to ride-hailing apps.

The rise has led to congestion on metropolis streets, based on a 2017 report, and contributed to the troubles of the yellow cab business. The worth of a yellow cab medallion — which is required to function a taxi — has fallen precipitously since 2014, when the town final held a medallion public sale. That 12 months, one was promoting for $900,000 to $1 million, based on knowledge from the Taxi and Limousine Fee. In June, costs ranged from $165,000 to $700,000.
There have additionally been six driver suicides in latest months, together with a person who fatally shot himself exterior Metropolis Corridor, after writing an extended put up on Fb in regards to the dire results of the competitors.

Different payments in entrance of the Council would set a minimal wage for drivers and authorize the taxi fee to review whether or not to set a minimal fare; create a brand new license for high-volume, for-hire car companies; and waive the licensing charge for wheelchair-accessible automobiles.

“I perceive the considerations about individuals of shade being denied service, however I wish to clarify that we’re not diminishing service,” Corey Johnson, the Metropolis Council speaker, mentioned. “The automobiles which are on the market now will stay on the market.”

He added: “We’re not saying Uber is unhealthy. They’ve met a big want. We’re saying the business must be regulated.”

Mr. Johnson mentioned the laws would enable automobiles to be added to particular neighborhoods if the taxi fee decided that entry to service was being damage through the yearlong research. Wheelchair-accessible automobiles is also added.

Bhairavi Desai, govt director of the New York Taxi Employees Alliance, which represents drivers of yellow cabs and for-hire automobiles, mentioned it was necessary to debate transportation within the context of civil rights.
“Race-based refusal is a critical situation amongst yellow taxis and within the Uber and Lyft world,” Ms. Desai mentioned. “However Uber and Lyft don’t have a provide downside, they’ve an effectivity downside.”

For-hire drivers within the metropolis, a lot of whom are nonwhite immigrants, are being damage as a result of the roads are oversaturated with automobiles, Ms. Desai mentioned. Journey-hailing automobiles and yellow taxis have been empty a 3rd of the time whereas in Manhattan’s central enterprise district, based on the 2017 report by Bruce Schaller, a former metropolis transportation official.

“Defending the oversaturation which has resulted within the deep poverty of a piece power made up of immigrants of shade isn’t a civil rights place, it’s the antithesis,” Ms. Desai mentioned.

That is the second time the town has sought to gradual the expansion of for-hire automobiles. Mayor Invoice de Blasio proposed a cap on for-hire automobiles in 2015 however the town backed down after Uber waged a public-relations marketing campaign. Mr. de Blasio voiced help on Friday for the newest proposal.

Uber has began a social media marketing campaign towards the proposed license freeze, and this 12 months created a web site that emphasizes the variety of journeys “in areas lengthy ignored by yellow taxis and the place entry to public transit is proscribed.”

“We’re rising quickest within the outer rings of the outer boroughs as a result of we’re serving communities which were ignored by yellow taxis and brought with no consideration by the M.T.A.,” mentioned Josh Gold, a spokesman for Uber, referring to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Uber statistics, he mentioned, present that ridership in neighborhoods similar to East New York in Brooklyn and Kingsbridge within the Bronx had greater than doubled since this time final 12 months.

Mr. Sharpton and Ms. Rice say their nonprofits have obtained donations from for-hire corporations similar to Uber and Lyft. The yellow taxi business has donated cash to the campaigns of Mr. de Blasio and members of the Metropolis Council, together with Rubén Díaz Sr., chairman of the Committee on For-Rent Automobiles.

Mr. Johnson, who was towards the 2015 push to cap the expansion of for-hire automobiles, now says the considerations are an excessive amount of to disregard.

“What’s modified is the extent of congestion, the explosive, unbridled development of for-hire automobiles and the variety of taxi drivers who’ve taken their lives,” Mr. Johnson mentioned. “I’m for us determining a sound public coverage answer.”

These assurances are usually not sufficient for individuals who oppose the plan.

“This doesn’t instantly take care of the historic and present downside of yellow cabs’ bias of servicing us in our neighborhood,” Mr. Sharpton mentioned.

The Rev. Dr. Johnnie M. Inexperienced Jr., the pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem and president of a statewide clergy group, mentioned he just lately had hassle getting a yellow taxi at La Guardia Airport to take him the place he needed after he had returned from Georgia.

“It’s a racial situation,” Mr. Inexperienced mentioned. “The those who champion the campaign towards Uber don’t have an issue hailing yellow cabs.”

Source: https://bylifetoday.com/2018/07/29/nyregion/uber-gains-civil-rights-allies-against-new-yorks-proposed-freeze-its-a-racial-issue/

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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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