We weigh in on accidents, Uber turns right, and fake accounts get frozen. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Blocking fakes, winning cases, veering right, and more. It’s all here in This Week in Rideshare!
Uber drivers in New Zealand claim a big victory. The Guardian reported:
A group of New Zealand Uber drivers have won a landmark case against the global ridesharing company, forcing it to treat them as employees, not contractors, and entitling them to a suite of worker rights and protections.
New Zealand’s employment court ruled on Tuesday that the drivers were employees, not independent contractors. While the ruling applies specifically to the case of four drivers, the court noted that it may have wider implications for drivers across the country.
A spokesperson for Uber said the company was “disappointed” and would be appealing against the decision. They said it was “too soon to speculate” on whether New Zealand’s drivers having employee status would affect the company’s operations in the country more broadly.
LegalRideshare’s co-founder & lead attorney Bryant Greening got a chance to discuss accident claims on The Rideshare Guy’s podcast. You can watch the full video here.
A new company is looking to blockchain to knock down Uber. Decrypt added:
DEC announced today that it has raised $9 million in seed funding to build out The Rideshare Protocol, or TRIP, which is designed to power ridesharing apps from a variety of future companies. They’ll all share the same core technology to connect drivers with riders, and DEC is building Teleport as the first application to prove out the framework.
Paul Bohm, CEO of DEC and founder of Teleport, told Decrypt that ridesharing giant Uber “essentially runs a monopoly — it’s very centralized.” Uber provides the platform that connects drivers to riders and takes a significant cut of the fee, commanding an estimated 72% of the U.S. ride-sharing market as of June, per data from Bloomberg.
TRIP is designed as a decentralized protocol that various app makers can plug into as a marketplace that connects drivers and passengers, all without a centralized force at the heart.
Bohm believes this will spur both cooperation and competition, encouraging participants to buck the model of giants like Uber and Lyft while also pushing companies to innovate to create the best app around a shared marketplace. A token will be used for decentralized governance of the protocol too, Bohm said.
Your Uber is about to make fewer left turns. The Verge explains:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 22 percent of crashes involve a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection. Uber has a novel solution to this problem: fewer left turns.
Uber announced today that its in-app navigation system will now recommend fewer left turns in an effort to reduce crashes and make trips safer overall. The adjustments are expected to be “minor” with little impact on trip time, but the effect will hopefully make for a less stressful experience for drivers.
Uber is launching new safety features to support drivers. TechCrunch reported:
Uber will conduct a large audit of rider account names and freeze any accounts with clearly fake names. Riders will have to update or validate their account names with Uber’s support agents to have their accounts unblocked, the company said.
Uber is also expanding its audio recording feature and piloting front-facing video recording. The ride-hail giant says in-app audio recording during rides has helped it determine the best course of action after a safety incident, and it’s helped riders and drivers feel safer when using the app.