Posts Tagged: drivers

Uber starts showing more US drivers how much they will earn on potential trips

Uber has launched a couple of features designed to improve the experience of and increase transparency for drivers. A few months ago, the ride-hailing giant started piloting a feature called “Upfront Fares” in a handful of cities. Now it’s expanding its availability and rolling it out to most of the US over the coming months. When they get access to the features, drivers will see how much they’ll earn and where they’re going for a trip on the request screen before they accept the booking. 

According to the Help page explaining how Upfront Fares work, Uber calculates the amount it shows using several factors, “including base fares, estimated trip length and duration, pickup distance and surge pricing.” Uber will also show drivers the cross streets closest to the pick up and drop-off points to help them make a decision. In addition, Uber will also expand the availability of “Trip Radar,” a feature that shows drivers a list of possible trips nearby, along with Upfront Fares. They’ll still get individual trip requests, but now they can pick another booking that might suit them better. 

Uber is positioning these new features as a way to support its drivers, but as Axios notes, the impact they may have on customers remains unclear. They could end up being misused and lead to the increase of rider and trip discrimination if drivers look at them as tools to avoid specific neighborhoods. That said, the features could also prevent canceled trips, because they allow drivers to make a conscious decision when accepting trips.

The company has also launched a new Uber Pro debit card that will enable drivers to earn cashbacks for getting gas at select stations. Back in March, Uber added a fuel surcharge to rides and deliveries, as well, to help drivers keep up with skyrocketing gas prices.

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Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick reportedly saw violence against drivers as a tool for growth

A new trove of leaked documents has shed an unfavorable light on the early days of Uber. Dubbed the Uber Files, the leak consists of approximately 124,000 internal company documents, including more than 83,000 emails and text messages exchanged between former CEO Travis Kalanick and other executives, that date to a period between 2013 and 2017. The latter marks the year Kalanick stepped down as CEO of Uber amid mounting controversy.

Working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), The Guardian shared the trove with 180 journalists at 40 outlets across 29 countries. The documents show a company willing to do things many of its own executives thought were “fucking illegal.” 

In 2016, for instance, Kalanick reportedly ordered French employees to encourage local Uber drivers to counter-protest the taxi strikes that were underway in Paris at the time. When one executive warned Kalanick that “extreme right thugs” were part of the protest, the former CEO pushed back. “I think it’s worth it,” he said. “Violence guarantee[s] success. And these guys must be resisted, no?”

One former senior executive told The Guardian that Kalanick’s response was consistent with a strategy of “weaponizing” drivers and a playbook the company returned to in other countries.

Another selection of documents details the lengths the company went to escape regulatory scrutiny. In at least 12 instances, Uber ordered staff at local offices in six countries, including France, the Netherlands and India, to employ the “kill switch,” an internal tool the company developed to protect its data.

“Please hit the kill switch ASAP,” Kalanick wrote in one email shared by The Washington Post. "Access must be shut down in AMS,” he added, referring to the company’s Amsterdam office. In two cases involving Uber’s Montreal office, authorities entered the building only to see all the computers and tablets before them resetting at the same time. The company told The Post “such software should never have been used to thwart legitimate regulatory actions,” and that it stopped using the system in 2017.

“We have not and will not make excuses for past behavior that is clearly not in line with our present values,” said Jill Hazelbaker, Uber’s senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, in a statement the company issued after The Guardian published its findings on the Uber Files. “Instead, we ask the public to judge us by what we’ve done over the last five years and what we will do in the years to come.”

In a statement published by the ICIJ, Travis Kalanick’s spokesperson said any suggestion the former executive “directed, engaged in, or was involved” in “illegal or improper conduct" is “completely false."

"The reality was that Uber's expansion initiatives were led by over a hundred leaders in dozens of countries around the world and at all times under the direct oversight and with the full approval of Uber's robust legal, policy, and compliance groups," they added.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Apple’s digital driver’s license drives slowly into Maryland

After Arizona, Apple is bringing support for driver’s licenses and IDs in the Wallet app to Maryland. Other states are expected to follow soon.
Wearables | Digital Trends

Google Wallet is back with support for storing your Driver’s License

Remember Google Wallet? You know, the one that was renamed Android Pay and then most recently, Google Pay? Well, Google Wallet has been resurrected and it’s going to take over from Google Pay, albeit with a couple of new tricks. Confused? If you know anything about Google you should have been expecting this news when […]

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Samsung moves to update GPU drivers via the Google Play Store for faster performance tweaks

One of the best parts of the Google Play Store is the ability for OEMs to update components of their software separately from a full system update. Catch a bug in your Mail app? Just push the update to the Play Store and save the full system build for the next major update, easy. While […]

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California votes to strip employee protections from Uber and Lyft drivers

Uber and other ride-hailing and delivery companies in California have prevailed in a $ 220 million dollar gambit to keep workers as independent contractors. Proposition 22, a side ballot to overturn a California law that made drivers full employees, p…
Engadget

California Uber drivers sue company over Prop 22 app notifications

It’s no secret Uber has been aggressively supporting Proposition 22, a California ballot initiative that would allow the company to skirt a state law requiring them to classify drivers as employees. Now, a group of the app’s drivers say the company’s…
Engadget

Uber CEO says his company can’t hire all of its drivers in California

Whatever the outcome of its ongoing legal spat with the state of California, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi doesn’t believe his company can employ all the people who drive for the platform in California, at least not without a fundamental rethinking of i…
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Drivers may overestimate Tesla Autopilot because of its name, study suggests

Tesla's Autopilot system might have a catchy name, but it may send the wrong message to drivers, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A survey the non-profit organization conducted revealed that a lot of people don't fu…
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Florida allows self-driving car tests without backup drivers

Companies that want to test their self-driving cars will have an easier time of it in the Sunshine State. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles without backup drivers. It also lets occupan…
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Colorado hopes to fine gas car drivers who park at EV stations

It's already hard enough to find an electric car charging station, but it's worse when you have to deal with passive-aggressive types (or just inconsiderate folk) who park their gas-based cars in those stations. Colorado, at least, wants to do someth…
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New York’s first attempt at recognizing drivers’ faces has failed

New York's bid to identify road-going terrorists with facial recognition isn't going very smoothly so far. The Wall Street Journal has obtained a Metropolitan Transportation Authority email showing that a 2018 technology test on New York City's Robe…
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Uber offers settlement to some drivers over worker status

Uber drivers may in the US are out of luck pursuing class action lawsuits that would force the company to treat them as employees. They might, however, get something for their trouble — with some caveats. TechCrunch has learned that Uber has offer…
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China’s ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing recruits drivers in Mexico

In December, Reuters reported that China's Didi Chuxing ride-hailing company would be expanding its business into Mexico, taking on rival Uber, which has the largest foothold in the country. Now, Reuters reports that the company is actively recruitin…
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Drivers push NYC to require tipping option in ride-sharing apps

In New York City, some ride-sharing services offer an in-app option for riders to tip the driver. Uber doesn't, so the Independent Drivers Guild is pushing the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to make a decision on the matter. The group has ov…
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Uber just lost a huge case — U.K. drivers now considered workers

In a court case that may have ramifications in the U.S., U.K. Uber drivers are now considered workers entitled to minimum wage and paid time off. Uber said it will appeal, stating the majority of its drivers prefer to be self-employed.

The post Uber just lost a huge case — U.K. drivers now considered workers appeared first on Digital Trends.

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Is your Microsoft Surface’s battery still troublesome? New drivers try another fix

Today, Microsoft issued its September 2016 update to provide some additional relief to Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Surface 3 users. The new drivers optimize battery life, touch, pen response, and more.

The post Is your Microsoft Surface’s battery still troublesome? New drivers try another fix appeared first on Digital Trends.

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Smart billboards will identify car models and target ads to drivers

A new system being developed in Japan identifies vehicles by make and model and displays highly targeted ads. In testing, vehicle identification was accurate 94 percent of the time. Billboard companies expect to charge more for targeted ads.

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Cool Tech–Digital Trends

Waze will put drivers at ease by letting them avoid difficult intersections

Waze unveiled its “difficult intersections” feature, which will let drivers avoid annoying, and potentially dangerous, intersections. The new feature will roll out as an update sometime soon for drivers in Los Angeles.

The post Waze will put drivers at ease by letting them avoid difficult intersections appeared first on Digital Trends.

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New York City drivers will now be able to pay for parking meters via phone

One of the last remaining vestiges of pre-mobile payment times is finally joining the 21st century — the much dreaded parking meter, a ubiquitous sight along New York City streets, is finally letting you pay via your smartphone.

The post New York City drivers will now be able to pay for parking meters via phone appeared first on Digital Trends.

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