Shared rides return, Uber offers a new service, and officials demand reform. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
The UK sees a growth in gigs, Uber adds a subscription, and safety is top priority. It’s all here in This Week in Rideshare. Read on!
Gig work in England has grown substantially. The Guardian reported:
The number of adults in England and Wales working for gig economy companies has reached 4.4 million and is now two-and-a-half times bigger than in 2016, according to a report highlighting the rise of insecure working practices.
Almost 15% of working adults now get paid by platform such as Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon’s delivery arm Flex, compared with about 6% in 2016 and just under 12% in 2019, according to research for the TUC union carried out by the University of Hertfordshire and the consultancy BritainThinks.
Uber returns an old favorite: shared rides. The Verge explains:
Uber is bringing back shared rides with a new name: UberX Share. The revamped carpooling product is available first as a pilot in Miami.
On an UberX Share ride, you’ll only ride with one other person (in addition to the driver) during your trip. Everyone in the car must wear a mask, even if they are all vaccinated. UberX Share rides will have a 5 percent discount, and you’ll get Uber Cash if another person is picked up during your trip.
Uber is back at it with another subscription service. Engadget reported:
The service has launched an Uber One membership that, for $10 per month or $100 per year, showers you with perks for both ridesharing and Uber Eats deliveries. You’ll get 5 percent off “eligible” trips and food orders as well as free delivery for many grocery and restaurant orders. However, that’s really just the start of the plan.
One subscribers will get “priority service,” with the highest-rated drivers and upgraded support. You’ll also get exclusive promos, offers and invitation-only “experiences.” There’s even an Uber One Promise that gives you $5 in Uber Cash on qualifying deliveries if the courier misses the latest estimated arrival time. You won’t have to settle for the same service as the commoners, in other words.
One reporter talked to a gig worker about the issues around the gig economy and the rampant exploitation. MSNBC reported:
As you may know, these are industries fraught with worker neglect and mistreatment. The classification of so-called gig workers — a term often rejected by employees because many work full time — as independent contractors has made it easier for companies to deny workers benefits and worker protections against exploitation. (Some app-based companies say their drivers want to be independent contractors, though critics argue it strips workers of their rights.)
Cherry Murphy: I was in my last year of my masters in divinity and beginning to start my doctoral program, and back in 2017, Lyft seemed like a godsend.
For three years, Lyft was my primary source of income and I completed over 12,000 rides. They advertised a job with a feature of “flexibility” that would allow me to make money while also loaning me a rental car. I was in desperate need of a car and that so-called flexibility and began working.
Soon, I found myself in a deadly and inflexible cycle. Over my time working for Lyft, I’ve seen many drivers become entrapped in the gig economy where app workers like me find ourselves in a constant cycle of working just to afford to keep working.
Every passing year, I’d spend more and more hours of unpaid time waiting for rides and personally covering work expenses like gas and rental fees, while it became harder and harder to sustain a living.
Lyft’s recent safety report hasn’t calmed concerns, it’s escalated them. San Francisco Public Press reported:
Two key elected officials have criticized the California Public Utilities Commission’s inconsistent collection of information on passenger complaints about assaults and threats on Uber and Lyft rides and called for reforms.
A leading researcher on sexual assault added that the commission’s methodology was out of line with accepted practice and that it suggested a “lack of concern” about monitoring the incidents.
“It is the CPUC’s responsibility to ask for data in a way that’s clear and consistent so that they’re not being given these kind of wild inconsistencies,” said Lorena Gonzalez, chair of the state Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, in an interview with the Public Press about its findings. “This is a clear example of the CPUC really punting their responsibility.”