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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Uber   

    Can Uber and Lyft survive strike? 

    Can Uber and Lyft survive strike?

    It appears that the gig economy is about to face a major milestone in its relatively short history. While some cities and taxi unions have opposed the invasion of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, now it’s the ridesharing drivers themselves that are fighting back against the companies. On May 8th, Uber is set to issue its IPO. Some estimates put Uber’s valuation at between $80 billion and $90 billion. Meanwhile, many of their drivers earn less than minimum wage and plan to do something about it.

    On the same day that Uber goes public many Lyft and Uber drivers plan to go on strike for 24 hours in eight cities. Those cities are Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. These are all major cities that depend a lot on not only public transportation but also ridesharing services. Even just for one day, the strike has the potential to put a very inconvenient dent in a lot of people’s commute. This could get a lot of support for Uber and Lyft drivers.

    The drivers are demanding

    • higher wages
    • clearer policies on wages, tips, how fares are shared and disciplinary action
    • employee benefits such as health care, disability payments and holiday pay
    • recognition and representation for drivers in Uber’s management structure

    It will be interesting to see how Uber and Lyft react not only to the announcement of the strike but the strike itself. One of the problems with the current economy is that employees in most industries have fewer protections than there have been in the past. This makes the gig economy attractive to many looking to supplement their current income. That means that there are scores of people looking to replace the striking Uber and Lyft drivers if those companies decide to retaliate. While it would be a major PR disaster for those companies, they’ve become such a convenience that it may blow over.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Uber   

    Craigslist to start charging $5 for cars, Kids in Ubers and Lyfts, and no trafficking in Robert Kraft case 

    Craigslist to start charging $5 for cars, Kids in Ubers and Lyfts, and no trafficking in Robert Kraft case

    What a $5 car may look like

    As of today, craigslist will start charging $5 for car listings. So as of tax day if you’re selling your car on craigslist it will cost you a fiver. While craigslist has not publicly stated the reason for the change, many speculate that the move will cut down on scam listings. It will be interesting to see if craigslist users will balk at the new fee and if scammers will be willing to pay the fee. Not to mention that it’s almost ironic that craigslist is now starting to act like so many newspaper classifieds that they helped close down.

    ***

    KATU in Portland, Oregon is reporting on a new safety concern when it comes to using ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber. Their investigation found that many minors are using the ridesharing services even though their terms of service require a passenger to be at least 18. Some drivers will refuse the fare if they know the passenger is under 18, however, there are many drivers who either don’t know the rules or don’t care. According to KATU, some parents are even ok with their older kids using an Uber or Lyft. If you’re a parent, would you be ok with letting your kid use an Uber or Lyft alone?

    ***

    Lastly for today, it was recently reported that the investigation that allegedly caught New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft using a massage parlor did not find any evidence of human trafficking. Critics have dismissed this investigation as a witch hunt of sorts and that police were just looking to arrest workers and johns. However, in many cases, those being trafficked are unwilling to testify against their traffickers due to fears of reprisal or threats of violence against their families. To refer to human trafficking as an overblown problem is to dismiss the safety and welfare of all those being trafficked against their will who are treated as slaves.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Samantha Josephson, Uber   

    Ridesharing safety at the forefront after murder of college student 

    Ride sharing safety at the forefront after murder of college student

    The safety of ridesharing users, especially women, has been a topic of concern lately after a University of South Carolina student was murdered by a man allegedly posing as her Uber driver. Last weekend 21-year-old Samantha Josephson got into a car that she thought was her Uber. Instead, the man who picked her up had no affiliation with Uber and is accused of stabbing her to death and leaving her body in a wooded area. While the tragedy that befell Ms. Josephson may be the most high-profile incident of assailants posing as Uber drivers it is unfortunately far from the first.

    The New York Times has collected a number of incidents that happened to female passengers who thought they were getting into Ubers or Lyfts before being assaulted by the driver. In some instances, their attackers had the sticker in their car windows in order to make it appear as if the attacker was a legitimate driver. These phony rideshare drivers tend to lurk around places where most rideshare services are requested such as bars and hotels. At one point in 2017, Uber even had to issue a statement warning customers about people posing as their drivers.

    If you’ve never used one of these services before you download the app of whichever service you want to use. The service requires you to upload a picture of yourself so the driver can recognize you and also for their safety. Conversely, the passenger will receive a profile of their driver that includes their name, what make and model of car they’re driving, their picture, and their license plate number. When your service arrives, make sure the driver tells you who they’re supposed to pick up and if they don’t know your name that’s a red flag not to get into the car. It’s also recommended that you message someone trusted that you’re about to get into an Uber or Lyft. Above all else, if you ever feel unsafe for any reason ask your driver to stop and if they won’t don’t hesitate to call 911.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber, vomit fraud   

    Uber drivers accused of using sick scam to fleece riders 

    Uber drivers accused of using sick scam to fleece riders

    Ride-sharing service Uber is no stranger to controversy. From its former CEO having to step down amid accusations of harassment against female employees to a driver who was recently live streaming his passengers without their permission, Uber has been a PR nightmare for the past couple of years. Now, a report out of Miami says some drivers are committing a scam that leaves customers sick to their stomachs.

    According to the Miami Herald, some drivers are committing what’s been dubbed ‘vomit fraud’. An Uber driver can claim that a passenger was physically ill in the driver’s car and add a hefty cleaning fee to the passenger’s bill. Driver’s try to get away with this by sending photos of the ‘evidence’ to Uber who add the charge to the customer’s fee. Often these pictures are fake and customers who try to dispute the fee find themselves entangled in a customer service nightmare trying to get the charges taken off as Uber usually sides with their drivers.

    Mashable takes the Herald’s report even a little further by reporting on Uber drivers who claim to have committed the fraud on an anonymous Reddit board for Uber Drivers. While some drivers are said to do it just for the money, others say they do it out of spite to rude customers.

    So if you want to avoid fraudulent charges like this if you use Uber, keep a close eye on your debit or credit card statements and don’t be afraid to wage an uphill battle with Uber’s customer service. If that doesn’t work you can always dispute the charge with your credit card company or bank.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Uber   

    DOJ launches criminal investigation into Uber 

    DOJ launches criminal investigation into Uber

    If you haven’t been following the plethora of problems that have plagued ride sharing service Uber, they got into a bit of hot water not too long ago for allegedly using a program called Greyball. Investigators with the city of Portland, Oregon, accused Uber of using Greyball to try to identify city inspectors and obfuscate their findings. Uber defended Greyball saying they were using it to protect themselves against user and driver fraud but still vowed to discontinue the program. Apparently, that apology was not enough for some people, as the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber’s alleged use of Greyball.

    While Uber has not yet been charged with any criminal activity, they have been subpoenaed by a Northern California grand jury. No details have been made available regarding the subpoena, however, many tech news outlets are speculating Uber may have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by using Greyball. Neither the US Attorney’s Office nor Uber is commenting on the pending investigation.

    So far, Uber appears to be coated in teflon when it comes to any controversy sticking to them. People continue to use the platform by the millions despite all the accusations of anti-competitiveness and their alleged culture that has fostered sexual harassment. What would it actually take for people to stop using Uber to the point where the company would no longer financially viable to exist? Probably not a criminal fraud conviction.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: flying cars, Uber   

    Is Uber’s flying car announcement a case of wagging the dog? 

    Is Uber's flying car announcement a case of wagging the dog?

    Say that your multi-billion dollar transportation company has been embroiled in some recent controversies ranging from dubious immigration policy decisions to a an alleged culture of sexual harassment and misogyny. What should be your next step in trying to get the public back on your side? Announcing a fleet of flying cars of course. The much embattled Uber recently announced a plan to have a fleet of flying vehicles in both Dallas and Dubai by 2020.

    While Uber has had this announcement in the works for some time now, the timing of this announcement seems to have the added benefit of distracting the pubic from the real problems plaguing Uber’s corporate culture. That’s not even mentioning that the flying cars are not cars at all but flying vehicles called VTOLs, which is short for Vertical Take Off and Landing. Most of these VTOLs are still in the testing phase and could be more than three years from being commercially viable.

    This service could be a hit in Dubai as their citizens tend to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle, however, there’s a major hurdle that Uber needs to clear for this to be a viable program in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration,aka the FAA, has never had a favorable view of these types of vehicles. In the past they have claimed the vehicles could interfere with commercial air traffic that could cause a catastrophic event if the pilots are not careful. As awash with capital as Uber is, it’s doubtful that the FAA under any administration will ever allow these vehicles to be used as a form of mass transit in the US.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tim Cook, Travis Kalanick, Uber   

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don’t have an iPhone 

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don't have an iPhone

    The problem with being the CEO of a controversial multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley startup is once controversy darkens your door it inevitably seems their business-related skeletons come crashing out of the closet, or boardroom as it may be. The New York Times has reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook accused Uber CEO Travis Kalanick of tracking iPhone users even after the Uber app was deleted from the device. In 2015, Cook was said to be so annoyed over the matter that he threatened to drop Uber from the Apple app store if they didn’t comply.

    This is just one more black eye to the company that was once heralded as being on the edge of ingenuity. From multiple sexual harassment accusations to lawsuits from Google over alleged stolen technology to the company allegedly taking advantage of their drivers. Uber has vehemently denied Apple’s accusation saying it wasn’t tracking iPhone users but were protecting themselves from people who would use stolen phones to try to get out of paying for expensive rides. Uber specifically has said this is mostly a problem in China.

    While Uber may seem like a morally ambiguous company at best, are any of these scandals really hurting their business? Do the everyday users of Uber know of the company’s many PR woes and if they do has it discouraged anyone from continuing to use the ride sharing app? So far competitors have failed to capitalize on Uber’s supposed downfall. Competing services like Lyft have started to make moves into formerly exclusive Uber markets but is Uber’s cache so great that their brand will be like the Xerox of their industry? Only time will tell.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on March 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: self driving cars, , Uber   

    Uber having more PR issues over the weekend 

    Uber having more PR issues over the weekend

    It feels like that Uber has become the new Yahoo by having anew controversy on almost a weekly basis. The first problem that Uber encountered this weekend is that one of its self-driving cars crashed in Arizona.

    Even though the crash was he fault of another driver, what most consumers hear is that a self-driving Uber car crashed, just like many consumers seem to think that Teslas are dangerous because one of their driver assisted cars crashed even though that was due to driver error. In the future you might see the Arizona Uber crash being used by detractors of either Uber or self driving cars in general as a reason not to have either one.

    The second controversy that broke over the weekend may have more damaging effects than a minor car crash. It’s being reported that in 2014, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, allegedly visited a karaoke-escort bar in the South Korean capital of Seoul with five Uber Managers. Four of the managers were male and the fifth was female. In these types of bars, a customer selects a woman by the number she’s wearing to sing karaoke with and she’s expected to keep the customer company while at the bar. While no criminal activity reportedly took place, these types of bars have a long history with the sex trafficking trade.

    The female manager claims that she felt very uncomfortable seeing these women called out by number and reported it to Uber human resources a year later. It’s come to light recently due to Uber management allegedly being skittish about the story being discovered in light of the recent accusations of sexual harassment.

    The question still remains, that even with all its recent controversies will any of this have a significant impact on Uber’s bottom line as their customers continue to flock to the ride sharing app.

     
  • Geebo 9:58 am on March 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jeff Jones, Uber   

    Is Uber’s facade starting to crack as top executive quits? 

    Is Uber's facade starting to crack as top executive quits?

    Over the weekend, Uber’s President, Jeff Jones, announced that he was leaving the company only six months after taking the position. His resignation is said to be directly caused by the recent controversies Uber has been embroiled in including the culture of sexual harassment that Uber has been accused of fostering.

    In a statement that Jones himself sent to the media he says that Uber’s practices are in direct conflict with his beliefs and approach to leadership. This comes shortly after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he was searching for a new COO stating that he needed to ‘grow up’ after getting into a shouting match with an Uber driver that went viral.

    Is this the beginning of the end for the ride sharing service that once stood atop the mountain? Not only are competitors like Lyft looking to swoop in on Uber’s claim to the top but other companies such as Waze are also looking to fill the gap left by Uber since so many of its users are deleting the app out of protest. Is there anything Uber can do to pull themselves out of this seemingly downward spiral? As the old business school cliché goes, it can take years to build great customer service, but only a moment to lose it.

     
  • Geebo 12:07 pm on March 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sxsw, Uber   

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW? 

    Did Austin miss Uber and Lyft during SXSW?

    This past weekend the infamous tech and entertainment festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW) took place in the Southwest’s capital of cool, Austin, Texas. During the festival on Saturday night, the skies opened up, and rain descended upon ATX. Many of the revelers wanted to get a ride back to their hotels, but their requests for ride shares went unheeded.

    In a lot of hip cities like Austin, you can get a ride from ride sharing apps Uber or Lyft. Last May, both of those services left Austin due to new regulations the city imposed on ride sharing services. The city wanted Uber and Lyft to do fingerprint background checks on their drivers much to the protests of the two leading ride sharing companies. Rather than fingerprint their drivers, Uber and Lyft preferred to leave town leaving Austin with no ride sharing services.

    Much like nature, commerce abhors a vacuum, and it didn’t take long for new services to take the place of Uber and Lyft that were willing to play ball with the city. Those services are Ride Austin and Fasten. The problem with these new services is they didn’t seem to have the capabilities of scale that their predecessors had when the rains started to fall.

    Due to the massive traffic to the respective apps, the apps crashed hard and left both riders and drivers stranded. Both companies were said to have server issues and claim that the issues were resolved by Sunday.

    Both tourists and locals lamented the absence of both Lyft and Uber, but will that situation ever be resolved? Is the city being too protective of the city’s taxi services, or are Uber and Lyft being unreasonable by not fingerprinting their drivers?

     
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