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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Uber Plans to Check Up on Idle Cars in New Safety Measures

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If you sit in an Uber car for too long, the ride-hailing company plans to check up on you to make sure all is OK.
That’s one of several new features Uber Technologies Inc. unveiled on Wednesday meant to make trips safer for riders and drivers. Others include an emergency button for drivers, voice-activated commands and anonymous pickup addresses — using cross streets, for example.

Catastrophes of all sorts — collisions, assaults, rape and even murder — take place in ride-hailing vehicles around the globe. Didi Chuxing, China’s largest service for booking car rides, is trying to avert a customer boycott after two women were allegedly killed by their drivers over the last few months. Didi said on Tuesday that it was suspending late-night service on the mainland for a week as it works on new safety measures.

Uber is trying to use its technical know-how to make terrible incidents on its own platform less likely. Dara Khosrowshahi, who joined the San Francisco-based company as chief executive officer exactly a year ago, marked the anniversary with a news conference in New York focused on safety programs.

“Safety should be our No. 1 priority,” Khosrowshahi said onstage. “We want you to know when you get in that car, whether you’re a rider or a driver, that Uber has your back.”

Customers can expect to see the new features in their app over the next few months, and Uber has more to come later, the company said.

Uber and its main U.S. rival, Lyft Inc., are racing to make their platforms safer. In May, both companies committed to releasing data about safety incidents on their platforms. In an interview last month, Khosrowshahi reiterated his commitment to disclose such information, including statistics on sexual assaults and collisions, sometime next year.

Ride-hailing companies have long faced questions over how thoroughly they vet their drivers. Both Uber and Lyft have resisted fingerprint background checks in most states, even as they increasingly rely on technology, rather than direct human oversight, to monitor their drivers.

For Uber, safety issues go beyond human drivers. The company’s experiments with self-driving cars are still on hold after one of the vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March. In an interview Wednesday, Khosrowshahi said the new safety features were in the works before the fatal crash.

“But I think it was absolutely reconfirming how fundamental safety is in this day and age,” he said. “It’s on us to make sure that the platform is as safe as possible.”

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-05/uber-plans-to-check-up-on-idle-cars-in-new-safety-measures

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

Taxi driver dies after setting himself on fire to protest carpool app

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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.

Source: https://nypost.com/2018/12/10/taxi-driver-dies-after-setting-himself-on-fire-to-protest-carpool-app/

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

NY: Uber, Lyft drivers secure $17.22 minimum wage in new TLC rules

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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.

Source: https://www.masstransitmag.com/misc-mobility/shared-mobility/car-sharing/news/21035557/uber-lyft-drivers-secure-1722-minimum-wage-in-new-tlc-rules

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Uber, lyft and other taxis

New York City taxi and rideshare drivers to receive a living wage

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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.

From Gizmodo:

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.”

Source: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/06/new-york-city-taxi-and-ridesha.html

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