Uber and Lyft increase average vehicle ownership in urban areas

by Adam Dove

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The landscape of individual transportation has changed drastically since the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. Where before, getting from A to B required you to either take public transportation, locate a taxi, or own your own private vehicle, being able to call yourself a ride with the push of a button has made going through life without owning a car much more feasible—and in some cases, even desirable.

In a recent study published in iScience, a team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers led by Jeremy Michalek have set out to quantify effects these transportation network companies (TNCs) have had on urban transportation.

“When we set out to quantify these effects, there were many feasible possibilities for the outcome,” says Michalek, professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering. “For instance, it is possible that when travelers gain access to Uber or Lyft, some of them may choose to own fewer vehicles because they have an alternative way to get around. But on the other hand, it’s also true that some drivers could purchase extra vehicles for ride-hailing work, which could increase vehicle ownership. It wasn’t immediately clear what the net effect would be.”

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China built the first electric car designed exclusively for ride-hailing

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The D1 is a partnership between Didi Chuxing and BYD

Two of China’s top companies have joined forces to design, develop, and build an electric car for the express purpose of ride-hailing.

The vehicle is an adorable green hatchback called the D1, and it was developed by Didi Chuxing, the top ride-hailing company in China that notoriously defeated Uber in 2016, and BYD, one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers. The D1 will have a range of 418 km (260 miles) as judged by NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). They also explained some of the more interesting design touches that make this vehicle particularly well-suited for app-based ride-hailing.

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What happens if Uber and Lyft flee California? Look at Austin

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Line of rideshare vehicles driving in protest

 The ride-hail services are threatening to stop service in the Golden State to protest a judge’s ruling. They did something similar in Texas in 2016.

A California judge has ordered Uber and Lyft to treat drivers as employees; the companies say they’ll leave the state rather than comply.

RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ REMEMBERS the moment he learned Uber and Lyft were leaving Austin. “It was Mother’s Day, and I was with my girl in a restaurant,” he says. “I said, ‘Now I’m not paying for that piña colada.’” Today, he laughs about it. But in 2016, the situation was worrying. Rodriguez was a full-time driver for the ride-hail companies. Just two days later, the platforms ditched the Texas capital, frustrated that they had lost a ballot measure that forced them to fingerprint potential drivers for background checks. Rodriguez was out of a job.

Now, something similar might happen on a much bigger scale, in California. Earlier this month, a state judge ordered the ride-hail companies to treat ride-hail drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors. The companies had said they would stop operating in California on Friday, but an appeals court on Thursday delayed the effective date of the ruling until it could rule on the companies’ appeal.

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Can the Uber model transform freight?

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 Freight brokerage is ripe for disruption, write Dr. Walter Rentzsch and Dr. Wilfried Aulbur

The disruption of digital platforms in brokerage-based businesses is just one of the many ways our world is increasingly becoming digitised.

Special report: Can the Uber model transform freight?

Take the travel agency business as an example. Until the late 1990s, travel agencies dominated the market for travel bookings. The arrival of the internet enabled customers to book their vacation without going through an agency. The simplicity and cost savings of this model motivated customers to use online platforms. Penetration grew continuously despite initial adoption hurdles for some customer groups. Today most standard trips are booked online, and the number of travel agencies has declined by a third over the last decade.

The logistics industry is another brokerage-based business that is beginning to see the underpinnings of a similar disruption. Truck freight start-up funding has grown over past years. While start-ups have raised about US$180m in VC funding between 2011 and 2016, the last few years saw investment increase to US$470m. A large number of new players emerged, some of which reached unicorn status with valuations over one billion dollars, such as Convoy or Flexport. To understand where these companies play, a closer look at the US trucking market structure is necessary.

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The results are in for the sharing economy. They are ugly

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An Uber ride in Brooklyn last month. The ride-hailing company’s business collapsed in March as shelter-in-place orders spread through Europe and the United States.

 Lyft, Uber and Airbnb depend on travel, vacations and gatherings. That’s a problem when much of the world is staying home.

OAKLAND, Calif. — The coronavirus pandemic has gutted the so-called sharing economy. Its most valuable companies, which started the year by promising that they would soon become profitable, now say consumer demand has all but vanished.

It is not likely to return anytime soon.

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Uber Connect lets you deliver things to friends and family

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Uber has announced a duo of new services as the company chases fresh revenue streams to offset the impact of COVID-19.

With billions of people around the world forced into lockdown during the coronavirus crisis, tech firms across the spectrum have been adapting to this “new normal.” For platforms that enable remote working, this has meant catering to a surge in demand. But for Uber, which relies significantly on physical interactions, it has had to get creative. Shelter-at-home policies enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated Uber’s core ride-hailing business, leading the company to fast-track the global launch of Uber Eats for business, accept phone orders for food deliveries, and even expand into grocery deliveries.

Now, Uber is looking to deliver pretty much anything, from pet food and medical supplies — and it even wants to deliver goods between friends and family living at different addresses.

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Uber launches effort to help drivers find other work during coronavirus crisis

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The Work Hub can be used to find gigs with Uber Eats, Uber Freight, or over a dozen other companies

Demand for ride-hailing in cities is down severely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as such, drivers are struggling to find work. Uber is rolling out a new feature for drivers that is designed to help them find work during this crisis — even if that work is for a different company.

Uber drivers received an email on Monday announcing a new feature in the driver app called the Work Hub designed to help drivers earn money with the company’s other ventures. Drivers can use the Hub to receive orders through Uber Eats; haul freight with the company’s trucking business, Uber Freight; pick up a shift with Uber’s temporary worker program, Uber Works; or respond to an opening from over a dozen other companies that are looking to hire.

Like most shared transportation services, Uber has seen a precipitous drop in ridership as a result of the pandemic. The company’s gross bookings in Seattle, a city hit hard by COVID-19, is down by 60 to 70 percent, and Uber is assuming similar declines in other big cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. The virus has cut Uber’s overall business by as much as 50 percent, according to The Information.

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For the first time, Uber drivers and other gig workers qualify for unemployment insurance as part of the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

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A protester outside Uber’s office in Massachusetts.

The Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus economic bailout bill includes help for gig-economy workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, who have seen their livelihood dissolve during the coronavirus crisis.

For the first time, these workers would qualify for unemployment insurance.

They would also qualify for the additional four months of extra payments this bill would provide to everyone who collects unemployment.

It isn’t clear exactly how much money a month drivers, contract workers, and freelancers could get, but they should qualify for a weekly payment equivalent to if they were a laid-off full-time employee.

The maximum weekly amount varies by state, but the extra unemployment insurance would add up to a maximum of $600 more a week.

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Dallas Exterminator treats ‘5 to 10’ ride share cars a week for bed bug infestations

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 If the shady business practices, abuse of drivers or straight-up possible negligent homicides don’t make you pause before hitting that Uber or Lyft app, maybe this will: at least one Dallas exterminator is doing big business killing bed bugs in ride-share vehicles.

Dallas is up there in terms American cities experiencing bed bug infestations. Both Orkin and Terminix place the city in the top 10 most buggy cities in America, according to WFAA. The news station spoke to Don Brooks, owner of Dallas-based Doffdon Pest Control about the problem.

“Quite frankly, they’re not racist at all and they don’t care about how much money you have,” Brooks said. “They’re bloodsuckers.”

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Here’s what the Uber Eats delivery drone looks like

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Uber has unveiled more details about its plans for Eats delivery via drones. If all goes according to Uber’s plan, it will start flying its first drone model before the end of the year.

Uber’s design, which it unveiled at the Forbes 30 under 30 Summit today, is made to carry up to one meal for two people. Featuring rotating wings with six rotors, the vehicle can vertically take-off and land, and travel a maximum of eight minutes, including loading and unloading. The total flight range is 18 miles, with a round-trip delivery range of 12 miles.

As Uber previously said, the plan is not to use the drones for full delivery, but rather a portion of it. Once a customer orders food, the restaurant will prepare the meal and then load it onto a drone. That drone will then take off, fly and land at a pre-determined drop-off location.

Behind the scenes, Uber’s Elevate Cloud Systems will track and guide the drone, as well as notify an Eats delivery driver when and where to pick up their food. Down the road, Uber envisions landing the drones on top of parked Uber vehicles located near the delivery locations. From there, the Eats delivery driver will complete the last mile to hand-deliver the food to the customer.

Beginning next summer, Uber wants to use this drone for meal deliveries in San Diego. That would come after Uber first tests deliveries in partnership with drone operators and manufacturers.

Via Techcrunch.com

 

The death of cars was greatly exaggerated

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The founders of Uber and Lyft, among others, declared that people would no longer need to own cars. Instead, car ownership is rising.

Throw your driver’s license out the window. Better yet, don’t get one at all.

For nearly a decade, that’s been the message from buzzy transportation companies. In 2011, car-sharing company Zipcar touted a study claiming millennials believe car ownership is difficult. The same year, Zimride, founded by the guys who would later cofound Lyft, was touted as a startup challenging the “old model of individual ownership.” Former Uber head Travis Kalanick boasted that his driver’s license had expired and that his 1999 BMW M3 convertible—his only car—had a broken alternator.

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We pit the Uber Copter vs. public transit in a race to JFK — here’s who won

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One is a bumpy, deafening and slightly nauseating way to get to John F. Kennedy Airport — the other is public transportation.

The Post put Uber’s new helicopter shuttle to JFK to the test, racing the car-sharing company and its chopper from Midtown to the hub against old-fashioned New York City Transit — which proved three minutes swifter at a sliver of the price.

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