Uber is running scared of Juno, a NYC competitor that's kicking its ass

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Juno is a "driver-friendly" rideshare service that competes with Uber by paying its drivers more and giving drivers the ability to pick up a fare, get them to install the Juno app, and give them a discount. Read the rest

AOL "You've Got Mail" guy is now an Uber driver

161107105928-uber-elwood-edwar
When you logged into AOL in the 1990s, you were greeted with the voice of Elwood Edwards. Last night, Brandee Barker was headed to one of Hillary Clinton's Ohio campaign headquarters for canvassing when she happened to meet Edwards. He was her Uber driver!

From CNN:

Edwards, a longtime voice actor, recorded the famous famous phrase -- along with others like "Welcome," "File's Done" and "Goodbye" -- because of his wife. Back in the late 80s she worked for Quantum Computer Services, the company that would later become AOL, and she overheard the company's CEO saying he wanted a voice to notify people when they receive email.

She told them about her husband, he recorded the phrases on a cassette tape and became the internet's voice. He was paid $200 for the voice over, he told Barker.

In addition to his voice over work, Edwards worked for several years as a news editor at a TV station in Cleveland before recently retiring.

Read the rest

Uber promises flying cars within 10 years

vtols

“Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”

Ride-sharing service Uber released a 97-page white paper today that describes a network of “on-demand, fully electric aircraft that take off and land vertically.” The Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft are referred to as VTOLs. Uber's proprietary network of VTOL service will be called “Elevate.”

Read the rest

US endorses self-driving cars, with a catch: Feds want to control tech approval, not states

Lexus SUV Google prototype autonomous vehicle in Mountain View, 2015.  REUTERS

Federal auto safety regulators today said that self-driving cars “will save time, money and lives,” but also sent a clear signal that they want the power to inspect and approve technology before it hits the highways, rather than each U.S. state setting its own safety standards.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on a press call today that a new federal premarket approval system "would require a lot more upfront discussion, dialogue and staffing on our part."

The government's statement today is big news for Uber, Google, Apple, and other Silicon Valley firms pouring millions of R&D dollars into figuring out how to swap human drivers for smart machines, or at least allow us to share control in “semiautonomous” setups.

Read the rest

Uber lost $1.27 billion or more in the first half of 2016

REUTERS
Uber lost at least $1.27 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first six months of 2016, Bloomberg reports today.

Read the rest

Profile of People's Ride: a co-operative, driver-owned alternative to Uber

profileimg_peoplescoop-01

People's Ride is a co-op ride-hailing company in Grand Rapids, Michigan: drivers own the service in common and collectively decide how to spend its profits (for example, on deploying an app to go with its website); for-profit competitors like Uber take 30% commissions from their drivers and deliver them to investors, while People's Ride spends all the revenue paying drivers and improving the service. Read the rest

Web companies can track you -- and price-gouge you -- based on your battery life

6997580445_80f70581c8_b

In Online tracking: A 1-million-site measurement and analysis, eminent Princeton security researchers Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan document the use of device battery levels -- accessible both through mobile platform APIs and HTML5 calls -- to track and identify users who are blocking cookies and other methods of tracking. Read the rest

How and why to short Uber

Taxis_contre_Uber,_juin_2015,_Toulouse-1

Uber's $62.5B valuation is an utterly speculative bet on a company that can only pay out if many sub-bets pay off: the timely arrival of self-driving cars, widespread adoption of car-sharing (rather than private self-driving car ownership), no effective competition from other hailing companies (including those backed by the car manufactuers), regulatory reform to legalize its practices, and smooth sailing for its massive subprime lending program for its drivers. Read the rest

Uber loves competition, when it's the one doing the competing

urbanhail-1$small

Uber terminated access to its API for Urbanhail, a startup that compared pricing and availability among ride-hailing apps and taxi companies, after chastising the company's founders for violating its terms of service, which forbid creating competitive uses. Read the rest

Uber gets $3.5 Billion from Saudi investors

REUTERS
A Middle East investor is now Uber's single largest source of cash. On Wednesday, the global ride-sharing startup said it had raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the main investment fund of the kingdom.

Read the rest

Watch the trailer for Drive 2: The Uber Years

screenshot

Yes, I know that isn't really Ryan Gosling.

(Joey Thompson/YouTube)

Read the rest

El Paso taxi companies upset that city council loosened taxi regulations

taxis

Taxi companies and Uber are both awful, so it's fun to watch them fight each other. On Tuesday, El Paso's City Council voted to reduce regulations imposed on taxi companies, instead of increasing regulations imposed on Uber, as the taxi companies had hoped for.

From KVIA:

Joe Olivar, the owner of a local cab company Border Taxi, was disappointed with Tuesday's developments. He was pushing for stricter regulation of Uber drivers, including fingerprinting-based background checks.

"You guys are making a big mistake, no one operates with the same integrity. I hope the city council is accountable when something horrible happens," Olivar said, as he repeatedly brought up the issue of public safety.

"You wanted a level playing field, that's what we're doing," El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser replied. Most of the council agreed that adding regulations was not the answer. "How many blockbuster stores do we have left" asked City Rep. Peter Svarzbein. "Could you imagine regulating Netflix? How you do you regulate a technology," he said.

Olivar said the council's approach was "fullhardy."

Read the rest

Uber and Lyft don't cover their cost of capital and rely on desperate workers

Uber_Sidecar_Lyft

Uber and Lyft are only economically viable because they offload their cost of capital -- the investment and depreciation on cars and the cost of keeping a driver fed and healthy -- onto the drivers, who are only willing to accept such a bad deal because the labor market sucks. Read the rest

New rideshare service bets women are ready to leave Uber's sleazy, rape-friendly service

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1031

Chariot for Women is a new woman-only rideshare service launched by a former Uber driver who had a bad run-in with a hulking drunk dude that made him realize how scary things must be for woman riders and drivers both. Read the rest

Uber uses customer service reps to push anti-union message to drivers

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x965

Once Seattle became the first city where Uber drivers were allowed to unionize, the drivers started getting "customer service" calls that polled them on their satisfaction with the company, while ham-handedly pushing anti-union messages. Read the rest

A close look at the new Uber logo reveals infuriatingly untidy details

LpmZHdb

This person has three problems with the new Uber logo. The first problem ("It can be recreated in under one minute using three of the standard shape tools) does not bother me. I actually think that's cool. But the uncentered square and the overhanging line really do suck! Read the rest

20 minute Uber ride cost $1,114.71 on New Year's Eve

uber

After Matt Lindsay celebrated New Year's Eve in Southwood Community Centre near Edmonton, he hailed an Uber to take him and his friends home. The driver who picked up Matt warned him that the "surge rate" was 8.9 times the regular fare. Lindsay accepted the surge and took the ride, which lasted 20 minutes. From CBC:

Lindsay said he was using his previous trips with Uber as a base understanding of what the trip would cost.

"Generally Uber is very affordable. I can get from northside to downtown for under $20."

He has taken a couple of rides at a surge rate of two times the regular amount, which he said tallied $77.

"With the amount of people in the vehicle and a similar distance, I figured it would be a similar fare."

Lindsay said people are vulnerable after they've been drinking and surge rates can be confusing.

Lindsay said Uber had offered to reduce his fare by half.

Image: Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock.com Read the rest

More posts