Here is the news circulating around the Rideshare and Gig-economy right now:
  • Uber wants to make airport trips less messy: “Uber is rolling out several new features designed to improve the most dreaded trip imaginable: the airport trip. In select cities, customers can book a ride to the airport 30 days in advance and even send their flight information to their driver so they can track its progress in real-time. The company is also deploying machine learning to improve curbside pickups. As airport traffic steadily increases in the wake of the pandemic, Uber sees an opportunity to strengthen its position as the first choice for pickups and drop-offs for air travelers, as well as make improvements for drivers, who have long complained about the current chaotic system. To start out, Uber is rolling out its Uber Reserve advance booking feature to more airports around the US. The company is also working with flight database OAG to add flight tracking information. When booking a ride in advance, riders will be asked to provide their flight information, and within 24 hours of a flight’s landing, they’ll receive notifications of any delays or potential early arrivals….. [read full article on The Verge]
  • Uber faces legal action over ‘racially discriminatory’ facial recognition facial ID checks: “Ride-hailing giant Uber is facing a legal challenge over its use of real-time facial recognition technology in a driver and courier identity check system that it uses in the U.K. The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) announced the legal action Tuesday, alleging that Uber’s biometric identity checks discriminate against people of color. The union said it’s taking the action after the unfair dismissal of a former Uber driver, Imran Javaid Raja, and a former Uber Eats courier, Pa Edrissa Manjang, following failed checks using the facial recognition technology. Commenting in a statement, Yaseen Aslam, president of ADCU, said: “Last year Uber made a big claim that it was an anti-racist company and challenged all who tolerate racism to delete the app. But rather than root out racism Uber has bedded it into its systems and workers face discrimination daily as a result.”….. [read full article on TechCrunch]
  • Today’s “independent contractor” may be tomorrow’s employee: “To be or not to be (classified as an employee)? As many as 51 million Americans currently work in the gig economy, an increase of 34% over 2020, according to a report from MBO Partners. Companies ranging from Uber to TaskRabbit contract gig workers to perform on-demand services and often classify them as “independent contractors.” Critics point to obvious financial incentives for doing so: companies usually don’t have to foot the bill for employee benefits and independent contractors are usually entitled to more limited workplace protections than full-time employees. Forced arbitration clauses are an overlooked component of the worker classification conversation. As of 2016, two-thirds of gig workers had arbitration clauses in their contracts that basically say, “If you have a problem with your boss, you agree to negotiate in a private setting—not sue.” Statistically, arbitration is stacked against workers: employers are favored, workers receive smaller awards than in court, and, crucially, it doesn’t lead to improved workplace standards. This is a huge problem for gig workers hoping to use the legal system to access employment benefits and rights….. [read full article on Morning Brew]
  • Uber Faced a Nightmare. This 1 Brilliant Move Made It Billions: “Never has there been a better time for self-driving rideshares than now. With a widespread sense of weariness amongst the public towards public spaces, eliminating contact between people with self-driving robotaxis, using services like Uber, seems like a no brainer. And yet, with more demand than ever before, industry leaders Uber and Lyft both walked away from autonomous driving tech in 2020. In what might appear to prove a counterintuitive lesson, Uber offloaded its self-driving technology to Aurora for $4 billion, and Lyft sold its self-driving car division to Toyota for $550 million. But the two didn’t sell off their autonomous technology to simply make a quick buck in light of a new opportunity, or as means to quickly gain capital to combat slowed growth or declining revenues. And in light of the surmounting problems surrounding driverless rideshares, when faced with the nightmare of deadly safety and security issues, the two rideshare companies also didn’t actually ditch their dreams of driverless cars. They dumped them on the competition. And very strategically so….. [read full article on Inc]
  • A Small War Over Bike Lanes May Be an Uber and Lyft Conspiracy: “If you live in New York City, you are a pedestrian or you are a driver, and you’re enmeshed in a war over streets that hits everyone’s wallets and time. Now, an extraordinary alliance has emerged: a militant local bike lane group, backed by Uber and Lyft, is battling car owners over hundreds of free parking spots. Some suspect a massive conspiracy by rideshare companies to scoop up the streets for themselves. They may be onto something. Flyers are up; is on fire; a petition now has over 1,000 signatures. Bear with me for a detour into the parking situation: The turf is a desolate parking lot under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway where a bike lane and walkway will cut out a precious 680 free parking spaces. The city plans to meter the remaining 400 spots at an outrageous $1.50/hour, enforced for an unusually long stretch of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday….. [read full article on GIZMODO]
  • The Art Of Managing Gig Workers: “Gig workers have exploded onto the scene over the past few years, serving in critical roles for businesses of all sizes and proving their value by delivering quality work at an exceptionally high productivity rate. With the ease of enlisting the services of gig workers and the cost-savings they offer, they’re firmly cemented in today’s business environment. A modern-day mix of traditional workers and gig workers means employers can adapt their management styles to reap the benefits — a departure from the norm that is well worth the change in mentality. As the CEO of a gig marketplace platform, here are some of my tips for managing gig workers. Understand the importance of communication. Since gig workers aren’t full-time salaried employees, managers who enlist their services must understand they won’t have spontaneous face time with these workers and can’t call immediate meetings to address issues. It’s important to be flexible with meeting format and availability since gig workers are self-employed and set their schedules. Many of them have chosen the gig economy for the flexibility it offers. I’ve found the most effective employers of gig workers are those who set a weekly meeting time, therefore establishing the expectation that a specific day and time each week is dedicated to discussing current projects….. [read full article on Forbes]
  • Home Depot hires Walmart delivery drivers to drop off paint and more to customers’ doors: “Home Depot is hiring Walmart to deliver paint, tools and other online purchases to customers’ doors. The two retailers announced the partnership Wednesday. The companies declined to share terms of the deal or the length of the contract. The home improvement retailer is the first retail client to sign up for Walmart’s new delivery business, GoLocal. Walmart launched the business in late August, with plans to attract customers ranging from local stores to national players and make money from last-mile deliveries, similar to a third-party service like Instacart. Deliveries are made by gig economy workers who use Walmart’s delivery platform, Spark Driver. Walmart will begin the deliveries at select stores in New Mexico, Texas and Arkansas in the next few weeks, and then expand to other markets across the country before year’s end, the two companies’ spokespeople said. The same-day and next-day delivery service will be limited to items that can easily fit into a car, such as fasteners, boxes of nails or paint brushes. Those that qualify will have that option offered at online checkout….. [read full article on CNBC]
  • 6 questions with Curri: The gig company for the construction industry: “In early April, technology platform Curri secured a $6 million Series A funding round led by Brick & Mortar Ventures with participation from existing backer Initialized Capital and new investor Rainfall Ventures. The firm, which provides on-demand delivery of construction materials using a network of gig workers situated across the country, provides a platform for anyone moving construction-related materials to secure pickup and delivery of those items from major retailers and brands, including Winsupply, Ferguson, Airgas, Grainger, Fastenal, Lumber Liquidators, The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Curri, which has about 40 employees, offers two types of delivery services – hotshots for local and immediate needs and “routes” for longer distance and regularly scheduled daily deliveries. All its drivers are 1099 independent contractors with their own vehicles, including cars, flatbeds, box trucks and bobtail vehicles. Customers can simply visit through a browser or the Curri app to schedule pickups and deliveries. Founders Matthew Lafferty, CEO, and Brian Gonzalez, CTO, took time out of their schedules to answer the following questions on Curri for Modern Shipper. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity….. [read full article on Freight Waves]
  • Curri nabs $6M for tech-powered last-mile construction logistics: “Curri, a Y Combinator-backed logistics startup delivering construction supplies and materials, today announced the closing of a $6 million funding round. The company says the proceeds will be used to expand its services as well as its market reach. Last-mile delivery logistics tends to be the most expensive and time-consuming part of the shipping process. According to one estimate, last-mile accounts for 53% of total shipping costs and 41% of total supply chain costs. With the rise of ecommerce in the U.S., retail providers are increasingly focusing on fulfilment and distribution at the lowest cost. Particularly in the construction industry, the pandemic continues to disrupt wholesalers, highlighting the need for flexible and reliable delivery….. [read full article on Venture Beat]
  • ‘It’s scary’: Drivers concerned after two road rage incidents turn to shootings in a month: ““People cut you off, they won’t let you over, it’s a bunch of crazy stuff, they’ll flick you off. All types of crazy stuff,” said Tawanda, who’s been a delivery driver for years before becoming a Lyft driver. She says she’s seen it all on the streets. “I drive defensively I try to drive as safe as possible because not everyone’s going to be as cautious as you,” she said. “As far as I see on the road, it be more of people, really aggressive driving.” But still, she was surprised to hear about two incidents in the last month of shootings on the highways after road rage incidents. “It’s sad. Because people just trying to live their everyday life. No one expects to be riding down the highway and getting shot at,” she said….. [read full article on WBTV Charlotte]
  • Two Lyft passengers pull gun, try to steal driver’s car, New Orleans police say: “Two passengers who booked a Lyft ride held their driver up at gunpoint in an attempt to steal her car, the New Orleans Police Department said Tuesday. The crime was reported Monday at about 4:30 p.m. after two men requested a pickup near North Dorgenois Street and Elysian Fields Avenue in the St. Roch neighborhood. When their driver took them to their intended dropoff point, in the 5100 block of Metropolitan Drive in the Gentilly Woods area, one of them pulled a pistol and demanded she leave the car, police say….. [read full article on NOLA]
  • Data-driven group actions: how to get the edge over the gig economy: “There is now no doubt about it: group action lawsuits are now well established in the UK. Be it MasterCard v Merricks or Uber BV v Aslam, the last year has seen a spate of ground-breaking collective litigations that are shaping the way we litigate collectively in England and Wales. And, as the Supreme Court ruling in the Uber group action in February and the Court of Appeal ruling in the Deliveroo group earlier this summer show, people who work in the ‘gig economy’ are increasingly seeking to enforce their employment rights. So much so that Deliveroo is reported to have set aside more than GBP 100 million to cover future employment lawsuits. My career has been in tech, so I have been watching the rise of the big gig economy employers with both fascination and concern because their business tools are the same as mine: technology, data and machine learning. At this point, it is important to differentiate between gig economy workers and freelancers. In the raw gig economy people’s work is clearly being directed by tech organizations that set pay and conditions, but do not guarantee work and do their best to ensure their workers never become employees. A freelancer is somebody who works for a rate they themselves set. While working for a gig economy supplier to generate a second income is a perfect reasonable thing to do, increasing numbers of people are spending all their working hours waiting on gig work and often not getting it….. [read full article on ICLG]
  • Discounts now offered for Lyft rides to some Colorado trailheads in hopes of reducing parking congestion: “Popular ride-sharing app, Lyft, has partnered with Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) to give park visitors the option to use Lyft as an alternative way to get to some Front Range trailheads and access points at a discounted price. JCOS hopes that this partnership will help reduce congestion at popular trailheads and improve park access. The program will be offered on rides to….. [read full article on Out There Colorado]

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