LegalRideshare's co-founder & lead attorney Bryant Greening talks with Jared Hoffa about gig worker related news, issues and events that happened during the week.
LegalRideshare was launched nearly a decade ago after Uber and Lyft drivers messaged attorney Bryant Greening with questions about accidents and didn't know where to turn. To understand this new industry, Bryant signed up to become an Uber driver to step into his clients' shoes.
Fast forward to today, LegalRideshare is entirely focused on gig worker accident and injury cases. We've served thousands of clients around the country and secured millions for drivers and gig workers.
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This Week In Rideshare: Traffic, StopClub, and Threats.
Traffic gets worse, StopClub helps drivers, and Uber fights the EU. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Uber made traffic bad. Robotaxis will make it worse. San Francisco Chronicle adds:
The real threat from robotaxis is the underlying technology. Once these cars inevitably learn to get around the traffic cones and gain the public's trust, their convenience could seduce us into vastly overusing our cars.
The result? An artificial-intelligence-powered nightmare of traffic, technically perfect but awful for our cities.
In the 2010s, the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where one of us serves as the director, was at the forefront of using Big Data to study how ride-hailing and ride-sharing could make our streets cleaner and more efficient. The findings appeared to be astonishing: With minimal delays to passengers, we could match riders and reduce the size of New York City taxi fleets by 40%. More people could get around in fewer cars for less money. We could reduce car ownership, and free up curbs and parking lots for new uses.
Our research was technically right, but we had not taken into account changes in human behavior.
This dynamic became clear in the data a few years later: On average, ride-hailing trips generated far more traffic and 69% more carbon dioxide than the trips they displaced.
Tulsa rideshare drivers go on strike. ABC8 reported:
They're striking because they say that they're being treated unfairly by the companies they are working for, Uber and Lyft.
Some drivers say they've noticed discrepancies between what customers pay and the share paid to drivers.
According to one driver, it's a trend that's getting worse.
The StopClub app is a dream for drivers and a nightmare for Uber. Rest of World adds:
StopClub reads the fare directly from the ride-sharing app and displays the calculation. It can even automatically reject fares below a certain price set by the driver. Since it added the fare calculator, StopClub has gone from around 87,000 active users in February to 250,000 across Brazil.
Before downloading StopClub, he'd spend 120 reais (around $25) on gas per day. Now, he spends between 85 ($17) and 100 reais ($21). With StopClub, “it's as if a blindfold has been removed from our eyes,” he said.
Uber Brazil took StopClub to court in July, claiming the app was illegally obtaining and storing confidential data related to passengers, drivers, and ride prices. It also alleged that StopClub was violating Uber's copyright and competition rights. In response, StopClub said it doesn't extract or store data. Instead, when Uber or 99 offer a ride to a driver, StopClub said it only reads the information shown on screen and executes a pre-programmed calculation. In late August, Uber lost its injunction to block the app.
Uber threatens to leave Brussels. FT reported:
A top Uber executive has warned that Brussels' proposals to designate gig workers as de facto employees will force its ride-hailing service to shut down in hundreds of cities across the bloc and raise prices by as much as 40 per cent if enacted.
“If Brussels forces Uber to reclassify drivers and couriers across the EU, we could expect to see a 50–70 per cent reduction in the number of work opportunities,” Díaz said. This would cause Uber to cease operating in “hundreds” of the 3,000 cities across the EU that it serves today, she added.
She said Uber is “sincerely committed to the European social model” but warned that similar rulings classifying drivers as employees in Spain and Geneva have led to “devastating” job losses.
Robotrucks hit the Uber network. Forbes reported:
Big rigs outfitted with Waabi's AI-enabled software and sensors began hauling loads between Dallas and Houston booked through Uber Freight this month, founder and CEO Raquel Urtasun told Forbes. The trucks have human backup drivers for now, but w
This Week In Rideshare: Tasks, Women, and Pay
This Week In Rideshare: Tasks, Women, and Pay
Uber's new service, Lyft's new feature, and Amazon's new deal. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Uber might be launching a new service. Engadget reported:
According to Bloomberg, the company is exploring the possibility of offering a new TaskRabbit-like service. Developer Steve Moser found code hidden within Uber's iPhone app for an offering that's reportedly codenamed “Chore.” Based on its current iteration, Chore will let you hire “taskers” and will let you specify in the app what you need help with, how long you think it would take and what time you want the tasker to arrive.
Of course, you'll be able to input the address of where you want the person to go before you submit your request. Uber will then compute a payment that's commensurate with the time required to finish the task, but you will have to pay for a minimum of one hour no matter what it is. Bloomberg says the code Moser unearthed didn't have hints on what types of help you can ask from providers, but the potential service's rival TaskRabbit has a wide range of categories to choose from. These include cleaning, furniture assembly, electrical help, plumbing, TV mounting, packing and moving, snow removal, computer assistance, pet sitting and even senior care.
Lyft adds a new feature to improve safety. The Verge reported:
On Tuesday, rideshare service Lyft launched Women Plus Connect, an in-app feature that “matches women and nonbinary drivers with more women and nonbinary riders.” The move is an effort to improve safety and encourage more women and nonbinary drivers to work with the company. A report by The Verge found that female rideshare drivers frequently face harassment and sexual assault and feel unsupported by rideshare companies.
The feature offers Lyft drivers an option to turn on a preference in the Lyft app to prioritize matches with other nearby women and nonbinary riders. It's not a guarantee, however, and if no riders that match that description are nearby, drivers will still be matched with men.
Amazon is boosting pay for delivery drivers. CNBC reported:
The company announced the pay bump at an annual, closed-door conference called Ignite Live with the 3,500 small businesses that make up its delivery service partner program. The DSP program, launched in 2018, comprises about 279,000 drivers, often distinguishable by blue Amazon-branded vans, who are responsible for delivering packages the last few miles to shoppers' doorsteps.
Amazon did not say how much it was raising wages, but the company now anticipates the average delivery associate will earn $20.50 per hour on average, or more, plus benefits. The DSPs regularly pay above the minimum set by Amazon, and it audits DSP wages “on a regular basis,” Tomay said. The amount differs depending on where the contractors are based, among other factors, she said.
One op-ed explains how the gig economy is on the losing end. CT News Junkie adds:
And if they've been in the gig economy for long, they know they are on the losing end of an economic system where people with resources benefit from the ease and convenience of, say, a quick ride to the train station, while the driver walks away with sometimes shockingly little compensation. They are not much protected by labor laws. Forget health insurance. They don't get that, either.
In public testimony, one Waterbury app-based driver said she's watched her pay drop from $600 a week for five days' driving during the worst of the pandemic, to $200 a week — if it's a busy week, and never mind tire repairs.
The gig economy is, according to some estimates, about to blow past $455 billion. Government regulation has not kept up, though the Federal Trade Commission has dipped a toe in, as with a $61.7 million fine they levied against Amazon in 2021 for not paying Amazon Flex drivers their share of customer tips. The FTC also announced l
This Week In Rideshare: Laws, Chicken, and Robotaxis.
One driver's legal fight, Uber plays chicken and robotaxis are here. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
One driver's legal fight could upend the gig economy. Fortune reported:
The court recently allowed a special lawsuit to be brought against Uber from drivers demanding coverage for work-related expenses. This decision highlights the back-and-forth struggle for the soul of the gig economy in California — and possibly throughout the United States.
Erik Adolph, the UberEats driver at the heart of this case, is not merely a plaintiff. He symbolizes the struggle of gig workers seeking fair compensation against a system that often feels stacked against them. For years, companies like Uber have used the label of “independent contractor,” sidestepping potentially cumbersome employment laws that mandate benefits such as minimum wage, health insurance, and expense reimbursements. The essence of Adolph's lawsuit is to permit a specific cause of action to challenge this model.
The lawsuit against Uber leverages the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), a unique California law that allows workers to sue for employment law violations on behalf of the state. This law doesn't just empower workers to fight for their rights, it actively encourages a more equitable employment landscape.
Uber and Lyft keep playing chicken with cities…and winning. Fast Company reported:
But as the bill gained momentum, Uber and Lyft issued a threat, the same one they've used for years against localities weighing new rules for the gig companies: they would pull out if it succeeded.
What happened in Minneapolis follows an increasingly familiar pattern, where lawmakers quash rideshare regulations after Uber and Lyft's warnings. This past May, Minnesota's Democratic governor Tim Walz issued a veto against a bill similar to Fair Drives Safe Rides when the gig companies threatened they would pull out. And the gig companies have made similar ultimatums in cities and states across the country, before watering down or stopping new regulations in their tracks.
But why don't localities stand their ground, and what would actually happen if Uber and Lyft pulled out?
Almost immediately, Austinites created alternatives. The city's taxi drivers union formed a worker coop and launched their own service, ATX Coop Taxi. Local entrepreneurs also launched RideAustin, a non-profit rideshare app. Andy Tryba, RideAustin's co-founder, says they started coding the app as soon as Uber and Lyft shut down — “basically staying up every night for four weeks. And then we grew like crazy.”
Uber starts dispatching taxis. AM NY reported:
The rideshare giant Uber is now dispatching yellow taxis to some of its New York City customers who use its app, cementing an unlikely partnership between once-fierce rivals.
Uber has allowed New York customers to request a medallion taxi through its app since 2022. But last week, the company started automatically dispatching taxis to any Big Apple customer requesting an UberX (the company's standard offering), provided a cab is closer than a car being driven for Uber, reps for the company exclusively revealed to amNewYork Metro.
The company also suspects it might potentially be a money-saver for riders in the long term. The Traffic Mobility Review Board is presently deliberating the rules, rates, and exemptions for New York's congestion pricing program, which will charge tolls on motorists entering Manhattan below 60th Street starting next year — and both taxi and rideshare drivers are among the many groups seeking exemptions.
Like it or not, robotaxis are here. The economist reported:
How quickly they proliferate will depend a lot on technology. Waymo and Cruise use a combination of detailed maps, extensive sensors and ai to achieve full autonomy, but only in the geofenced areas where they are trained. That means they can only advance step by step. Tesla hopes to m
This Week In Rideshare: Dara, Minneapolis, and California.
Dara moonlights as a driver, a mayor vetoes a bill, and Uber raises the minimum age. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
A new study looks at delivery drivers' working conditions. Business World reported:
The conditions of gig workers at local ride-hailing and delivery platforms have shown no improvement since last year, according to a study, highlighting financial insecurity and safety risks due to limited protections.
None of the ten platforms demonstrated fair pay and representation among workers, Fairwork said in a statement e-mailed to reporters on Thursday.
On fair management, two out of the ten platforms (GrabCar and GrabExpress/Food) received a point for having formalized processes that allow workers to appeal decisions.
“Platform-related indebtedness, a major finding in this year's study, pertains to a situation where gig workers become indebted — to informal money lenders, vehicle companies, operators, and contractors — in the aspirational process of gaining access to platform work,” said Cheryll Ruth R. Soriano, the principal investigator at Fairwork Philippines, in a press statement.
“The end result is the rider or driver being chained to platform labor for survival, working longer and harder hours to make a living.”
Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reviews his ‘nightmare' while moonlighting as an Uber driver. Fortune reported:
The initiative, called Project Boomerang internally, saw Khosrowshahi driving the streets of San Francisco on several occasions. When asked about his worst “nightmare” experience, he revealed it wasn't actually involving any passenger he picked up in his car.
“It was when I was a courier,” Khosrowshahi told the WSJ. “I was trying to deliver food and I couldn't find where to drop it off. Trying to figure out the maze of apartment complexes was a challenge.”
Back in 2021, Khosrowshahi told the New York Times that he “nearly got killed” by traffic when the San Francisco Giants were playing.
On the bright side, Khosrowshahi said his work experience had taught him that Uber needs to do more to make its drivers passionate about what they do.
Instacart's business slows as it heads for IPO. Insider Intelligence adds:
While Instacart's revenues rose over 30% year-over-year (YoY) to about $1.4 billion in the first half of 2023, its gross transaction volume grew just 5% YoY, per The Information.
It is questionable whether that growth model is sustainable, which is problematic given that Instacart executives may begin their IPO pitches to investors as early as next week, per Bloomberg.
Instacart's slowdown in its core delivery business is a marked contrast with the 27% and 10% growth reported by DoorDash's and Uber's delivery services over the same period. While both those companies primarily provide restaurant delivery, they are rapidly growing their grocery businesses. For example, our forecast expects DoorDash to make $5.26 billion in online grocery sales this year, which is over nine times the $580 million it generated in 2020.
Minneapolis mayor vetos what would have been a major win for drivers. Fortune adds:
The mayor of Minneapolis on Tuesday vetoed minimum wages for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing drivers, a move one city council member described as “an inexcusable betrayal of Minneapolis workers.”
Mayor Jacob Frey instead negotiated with Uber, securing an agreement for higher pay for only those drivers.
In his veto message, Frey wrote he “secured a commitment from Uber” that drivers picking up passengers in Minneapolis or driving within the city will make the city's minimum wage of $15 an hour. The company also committed to paying Uber drivers at least $5 for any trip in the metro area.
Lyft drivers are not covered by the mayor's deal.
“This veto is an inexcusable betrayal of Minneapolis workers,” Wonsley said in a statement. “The ordinance was developed over eight months o
This Week In Rideshare: Robotaxis, Minimum Wage, and Job Market (feat. Rideshare Professor)
Robotaxis go wild, Minnesota drivers win big and is Uber broken?
We sit down with Torsten the Rideshare Professor to discuss on This Week In Rideshare.
LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries. Consultations are always free.
This Week In Rideshare: Safety, Surge and Deactivations.
New features come to Chicago, Lyft wants to drop surge pricing, and Seattle fights deactivations. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Some driver groups aren't pro driver at all. Fast Company reported:
In Massachusetts, two coalitions, each claiming to represent the real voice of rideshare drivers — but with sharply different funders — released dueling ballot initiatives this week to decide the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers.
What may not be immediately obvious to voters is that the group is bankrolled by tens of millions of dollars from the gig companies. It's a reboot of their failed ballot initiative in 2022, a similar proposal that was struck down by the state's high court for confusing voters with “murky language.” Advocates say it's just a cynical attempt to use workers' faces to block them from receiving much-needed labor protections — and it just might succeed.
Drivers struggle for wins on the state level. Bloomberg Law reported:
In Colorado, a bill that died in committee would have required companies to provide drivers and riders detailed information about ride fees and how much drivers are paid.
Connecticut lawmakers considered a measure mandating pay rates for drivers, but it stalled after first being reduced to a task force.
In cases where compromise seems challenging, even staunchly pro-labor Democrats might be reluctant to pass legislation without direct buy-in from the likes of Uber and Lyft.
California's AB 5 worker classification law passed in 2019 despite industry opposition, only to get tied up in litigation for years and eventually reversed by a ballot measure that ride-share companies favored.
New safety features come to Chicago. Fox32 reported:
Uber is expanding its in-app safety features for Chicago drivers and riders beginning Wednesday, the rideshare company announced.
Users in nearly 150 cities in the United States now have the option to use an audio recording feature during their ride.
The recording will remain private, not even accessible to the company, unless a driver or rider submits a safety report to Uber and attaches the file.
Riders and drivers will receive a notification prior to their ride if either person has the feature enabled.
Lyft wants to kill surge pricing. TechCrunch reported:
Lyft appears to be not only trying to keep prices competitive with Uber, it's also working to kill off surge pricing, or “primetime” as the company calls it.
During Tuesday's earnings call, Risher said that surge pricing might work to incentivize more drivers during peak service, but it also acts as a demand suppressor when riders don't want to pay exorbitant fees just to get home after work.
“[Primetime pricing] is a bad form of price raising,” said Risher. “It's particularly bad because riders hate it with a fiery passion. And so we're really trying to get rid of it, and because we've got such a good driver supply…it's decreased significantly.”
Seattle drivers get protections against deactivations. KIRO7 reported:
The bill, labeled CB 120580, changes how companies such as DoorDash, GrubHub and Instacart can deactivate their gig workers as it requires “14 days notice of an impending deactivation, except in the case of egregious misconduct,” the bill reads. There are other requirements as well.
“App-based work is work. It is done by human beings who deserve a stable work environment. Their livelihoods should not hinge on the decisions of an algorithm,” Herbold said in a council statement after the bill passed 6–2. “This law, the first of its kind in the nation, will protect app-based workers from arbitrary deactivation and give them meaningful recourse to appeal to a human being if they are deactivated.”
LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries. Consultatio