Help Us to Keep Rideshares Transparent!

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With the release of our new site, RideGuru, the TaxiFareFinder/RideGuru team has become passionate about bringing transparency to the ridesharing community. Rideshares, such as Uber and Lyft, have their benefits but they also can be hampered by a lack of transparency.

Take a look at the video below to see how RideGuru is helping to bring insight into the ridesharing industry and let us know your thoughts below!

Lyft Lowers Prices in these 33 Cities

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Last week the internet was abuzz with the news that Uber had lowered their fares in over 100 cities. Passengers were happy, drivers were upset, and Uber hoped everything would work out in their favor. However, Lyft wasn’t going to sit back and let Uber win this battle without a fight and in a typical “anything you can do, I can do better” move, Lyft announced that they were going to lower prices as well in 33 cities.

Lyft announced their big price drop in a blog post stating , “Many people make New Year’s resolutions to save money, work out more, and eat out less. We don’t want that to leave you standing out in the cold, though — we think that with these lower prices, Lyft can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. During the new year — and all year long — affordability matters. We always want to be the most affordable option to get where you’re going. Lowering prices during a seasonally slow time, like the cold winter months, helps us make sure you can always get safe, affordable rides wherever you’re going.” The new prices were said to take effect on January 15th.

Unlike Uber, Lyft insists that despite the price cuts they will still continue to maintain their position as the most generous of Rideshare employers. In a statement to Re/code, Lyft made it known that their company pays drivers more than any comparable service, and that drivers average hourly earnings increased 13 percent in 2015! It seems like Lyft’s kinder disposition towards their drivers is working in their favor as Lyft drivers haven’t yet started attacking the company for cutting into their wages.   Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the relationship between Uber and their drivers.

Full List of Affected Lyft Cities

  • Bakersfield, California
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Fresno, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Modesto, California
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Orange County, California
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Bernardino, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose/Silicon Valley, California
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Sonoma/Napa Counties, California
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Washington, D.C.

 

 

What The Uber?! Criminals Pose as Uber Drivers!

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The other day I was waiting on a busy street in Boston for my Uber car to arrive when I saw a car pull up that was the same make and model as the car that was displayed in my app. I went up to the car and started to open the door only to have the driver inside give me an odd look and have my husband yell from behind me that this was not actually our Uber car. Mortified, I turned around quickly and stood further up on the curb, making sure to avoid the driver’s eyes.

After telling this story to my good friend who lives in Chicago, she mentioned that she recently did something similar but actually went one step further and jumped in a strangers car thinking it was her Uber! This got me thinking that riders getting into the wrong cars and mistaking them for their Uber ride must happen quite frequently. Apparently, a few criminals have caught onto this trend as well and have sadly started taking advantage of Uber riders.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago police are now warning Uber users to be cautious after two young men were recently robbed by people posing as Uber drivers. Apparently in both cases, the suspects pulled up to a curb in the early morning near where a few popular bars were closing and looked for people who seemed to be expecting an Uber. The suspects would then tell their victims that their Uber had arrived. In both incidents, once the victim entered the car, he was robbed of cash, debit/credit cards, and personal ID’s. Luckily no one was hurt in either case.

Our team here at TaxiFareFinder wants to remind people to be safe and vigilant when using rideshares! Always make sure the driver, make and model of the car, and the license plate all match up with the Uber you have ordered on the app. Do not let this “What The Uber” happen to you!

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email [email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

 

About the Author

Lilly is the marketing manager for TaxiFareFinder.com. She has a dream to travel to 100 countries during her lifetime but meanwhile is filling her time by instagramming pictures of her puppy and trying to figure out how to get an acceptance letter to Hogwarts.

What The Uber?! Uber is in Hot Water in China

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Recently, Uber has been struggling to gain ground within the rideshare market in China, with frustrating setbacks including having their Chinese headquarters raided by officials to being blocked on WeChat, China’s immensely popular mobile messaging platform. This week, Uber China has found themselves in hot water again as one of their drivers is suspected of robbing and molesting a female passenger at knifepoint. Sadly, while these occurrences are not new to Uber, this case has come at a particularly bad time for Uber China.

This latest assault happened when a 42-year-old female passenger hailed an Uber car in Chengdu late at night.  According to the woman, at one point during the fare, the driver stopped suddenly in a tunnel and pulled his knife on her. He then demanded she hand over her purse which contained more than 5,000 yuan (around $780). Afterwards he proceeded to drive the women to a secluded location, in the outskirts of the town, where he apparently molested her and took a few photos warning her that he would make the photos public if she were to speak of the assault.

The women did come forward to police and the driver was arrested on Wednesday. This is now the second known alleged sexual assault by an Uber driver in China in the last couple of months and we wonder how Chinese officials will handle this latest Uber assault. Uber has yet to make a comment.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email[email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

What The Uber?! Uber Hired 25 Drivers with Criminal Records Including a Murderer!

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Another weekly What The Uber story about how Uber isn’t as thorough as they should be when conducting background checks of their potential drivers!

The San Francisco district attorney’s office states that Uber allowed 25 drivers with criminal records to drive for the ride sharing service. One of these drivers was a convicted murderer who previously spent 26 years in prison before being released in 2008. The driver supposedly joined Uber in 2014 using a fake identity and gave over 1,000 rides with Uber before he was discovered. How do you miss that?!

This wasn’t the only mistake Uber made– over 20 more of their drivers were previously convicted of crimes and many spent a significant time in prison. Another one of the drivers was convicted for “committing lewd or lascivious acts against a child under 14” which was conveniently not found when Uber conducted a background check. This ex-driver gave almost 6,000 rides with Uber, and according to the records, some of these rides included unaccompanied children.

Some of the other ex-criminals were convicted of felonies such as kidnapping, selling drugs, and drunk driving.

San Francisco is pushing Uber to use fingerprinting technology in their background checks but Uber is strongly resisting, because they believe that no system is 100% foolproof. I’d say it’s in their best interest to give it a try.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email[email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

Felicia is an intern at Unleashed, LLC. She is from upstate NY, and is currently pursuing a Marketing degree at Bentley University. One day she hopes to travel the world and visit every continent.

What The Uber?! Uber “Mistakenly” Hires a Convict

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It is time for our weekly What The Uber story and this week we want to hear your opinions on the current Uber Dallas situation.

For those who are unfamiliar, last week in Dallas, ­­­a female passenger accused her male Uber driver of sexually assaulting her after he followed her into her home. To make matters worse, when the police looked into the Uber driver in question they found that he had been recently incarcerated on a federal weapons conviction in 2012 and that he was using a fake, expired city permit to drive for Uber. Any Uber driver applicant, you would think, would be immediately vetted from the process after serving time in jail or trying to apply with a fake permit! So how was this convict allowed to drive for Uber?

While Uber stayed mum about the situation for almost a week they are finally coming clean and explaining how they failed to catch this major red flag! According to Consumerist, “The screw-up began in Jan. 2014, when the convicted felon signed up with Uber — not as a driver, but as a “partner” to help drum up business for his family’s limousine service that was on the UberBlack platform. That’s when he presented the bogus permit, but since he was listed as “Will Not Be Driving,” on the account, it appears the company did not do any further screening. But then the real gaffe, one that would have devastating consequences, happened in April 2015, when someone at Uber “mistakenly” gave him access to be a driver for the company.”

We are glad Uber is admitting to their faults, but this is a pretty big “mistake” to make! How does someone just accidentally give a random partner access to be a driver? Uber did announce that since the sexual assault allegations, they have inspected the limo companies and livery drivers who use Uber and they also plan to increase their checks on driver permits in Dallas. We hope Uber has truly learned from this and plans to not only tighten their background checks in Dallas but in all their supported locations.

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email [email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

What The Uber?! Road Rage Brawl

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Happy What The Uber Friday Folks! This week a couple of Uber drivers have earned our coveted What The Uber spot by brawling in the middle of rush hour traffic over an alleged clipped wing mirror.

According to Mirror.co.uk, the trouble started when one Uber driver cut in front of a second Uber driver causing the second driver to swerve and clip the wing mirror of a passing truck. This small incident ended up turning into a three-way fight between the two drivers and one of the Uber passengers. The other passenger, Seb Bench, managed to film the whole ordeal from inside his Uber ride.  (To watch the full video, click here)

After Seb stopped  filming, the situation apparently calmed down and he was able to catch a black cab to his meeting. Thank goodness this early morning commuter was able to at least make his meeting!

While roadside brawls are not that uncommon, we do find it a bit ironic that it just happened to be two Uber drivers. It makes you wonder what percentage of drivers on the road are in fact working for Uber nowadays!

If you have a What The Uber moment or want to share a What The Uber story please email [email protected] or use the hashtag #WhatTheUber to get your story featured and shared on our social media!

 

 

 

A Tale of Uber’s Trials, Tribulations, and Regulations

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Uber has become a celebrity among startups, known for its innovation, motivation, and determination to always win. Cities and legislators have had a difficult time keeping up with the booming growth of the company, as the very concept the business is built upon is new and revolutionary.  With each new city entered, Uber faces a challenge and different regulatory obstacle from city officials and taxi industry supporters. Each place is approached and handled differently, but all with the same passion and fierce competitive spirit to successfully operate in a new market. Below are three recent battles Uber has fearlessly taken on.

San Francisco

San Francisco, California, the birthplace of Uber, is the very place recently involved in a court ruling that will significantly change the rideshare business model, that is, if Uber is unable to appeal the decision.  The California Labor Commissioner ruled that rideshare drivers must be classified and treated as employees as opposed to contractors.  Currently, drivers are considered independent contractors, which frees the company from any on-the-job expenses, health insurance, paid vacation time, and many other costly benefits.

Uber argues their contractor classification, citing the belief that the ride-hailing service is no more than a technological tool to connect drivers and passengers, rather than a full-fledged transportation service.  The company has already appealed the decision in the San Francisco Superior Court. However, if this ruling is not overturned and holds true, the rideshare business model faces the threat of destruction, or at least significant change. Drivers would be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay, not to mention the possibility of insurance and additional benefits.

On one hand, this ruling could be seen as beneficial for certain jobseekers, taxi competitors, and legislators. However, on the other hand, this decision could be detrimental for the countless businesses built on digital platforms that utilize a sharing economy.  If all workers must be considered employees, company costs will increase, thus forcing service prices to dramatically increase for users. This will shake the foundation of companies like Uber who are built on the promise of low-cost, on-demand service for users, and flexible, quick income for workers.

New York

In a turn of events, Uber drivers and supporters were the attendees of a protest outside of New York City Hall, rather than the typical group of taxi drivers. After recently winning a regulatory battle in NYC about software update approvals, the company is once again involved in a battle with city legislators. The city is considering issuing a temporary freeze of the supply of for-hire vehicle licenses while a traffic study, approximately one year in length, is conducted. This study will investigate the effect the recent increase in taxicabs and for-hire vehicles has on congestion in New York City.

Representatives at Uber are arguing against this proposal, questioning the legitimacy of the study and if the true motive is a concern of air quality and traffic congestion. Rather, they say, the study is a front to limit overall competition, which will only hurt the citizens of New York through potential job loss. The transportation committee is fighting back and time will tell whether Uber is limited or pulls through with a victory in NYC again.

Portland

Portland, Oregon has been the location of a long, attention-grabbing battle for Uber to enter and operate in the city. It all started in December 2014 when the ride-share service began operating illegally without the permission of city officials.  As the battle between Uber and city officials began, the company threw a launch party and created Portland-specific marketing materials, essentially taunting the mayor and transportation commissioner.  Not surprisingly, this resulted in the city suing and shutting-down all Uber operations in Portland.

No stranger to legal action, Uber lobbyists descended upon Portland to work with city officials to reach a compromise. The months following were filled with protests led by angry cab drivers, endless meetings with city council, and aggressive communications from the Uber team. Eventually, city officials recognized that they could not hold the company back much longer and approved a 120-day trial operating period. Official ride-hailing regulations are still in the works, but the city did remove the rate cap for taxi rides in an attempt to appease the angry Portland taxi drivers.

 

News sources used in this article:

Forbes | NY Times | Skift