Uber has been slowly rolling out its latest “trust me, I’m saving the world” product, this one a service that allows its Uber-taxis to pick up multiple passengers in serial fashion. Much like a commercial airport shuttle, strangers share part of the same ride and pay a reduced fare for just their part of the ride. It’s called UberPool, as in carpool, and CEO Travis Kalanick touted its alleged environmental and labor positives in a recent interview with the New York Times, saying that “reducing traffic was part of Uber’s mission.” If true, this is a welcome change from the CEO whose previously stated mission was to flood the streets with Uber cars to win his war for market share with Big Taxi and ridesharing competitor Lyft.
Uber driver Jason Dalton told one of his victims he wanted to ‘make America great again’ -Donald Trump’s famous campaign slogan – moments before he shot her dead, police reports say.
Dalton is charged with going on a shooting spree in Michigan last month, killing six and injuring two including a 14-year-old girl left in a coma after he shot her in the head.
The 45-year-old married driver had already shot three people during the rampage on February 20, when he arrived at the Cracker Barrel restaurant where victim Mary Lou Nye, 60, was visiting with Abigail Kopf, 14.
Every time Ian Haines rents out his spare room in the Australian port city of Albany, Airbnb takes a 13 percent cut. Haines, who’s semi-retired, uses the extra money to supplement his income running a local farmers market. He says he’s careful to pay taxes on the Airbnb money, because the San Francisco company may report the transactions to the Australian government.
For Airbnb, things are different. Because it manages its finances via units in Ireland and tax havens like Jersey in the Channel Islands, only a small part of its share of the revenue is ever likely to be taxed by Australia or the U.S. A review of Airbnb’s overseas regulatory filings shows it has a far more extensive web of subsidiaries than it has publicly acknowledged—more than 40 in all.
The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo recently wrote an oddly lamenting piece about how “the Uber model, it turns out, doesn’t translate.” Manjoo describes how so many of the “Uber-of-X” companies that have sprung up as part of the so-called sharing economy have become just another way to deliver more expensively priced conveniences to those with enough money to pay. Ironically many of these Ayn Rand-inspired startups have been kept alive by subsidies of the venture capital kind which, for various reasons, are starting to dry up. Without that kind of “VC welfare,” these companies are having to raise their prices, and are finding it increasingly difficult to retain enough customers at the higher price point. Consequently, some of these startups are faltering; others are outright failing.
With the shuttering of SpoonRocket last week, the recent news that Instacart was slashing its fees and commissions to drivers, and theDecember closure of rideshare also-ran Sidecar, there’s been plenty of talk about the bursting of bubbles, particularly in the on-demand app sphere. CNet takes up the topic this week, asking if the on-demand economy — also referred to as the shut-in economy when you’re just talking delivery apps — might be dying. But, of course, the answer is probably no — it’s just contracting.
If you’re an exclusive Instacart driver or shopper, you might want to think about diversifying your “shuttling stuff around” kind of a lifestyle—perhaps try incorporating a ride-sharing service or two, or another delivery service entirely. Why? An email from Instacart indicates the company is tightening the purse strings and forcing drivers to make a lot more trips (or shoppers to prepare a lot more orders) to earn as much as they were earning previously.
The author makes very good points about the illegal business practice Uber engages in:
If you have been aggravated about what you perceive as high taxi fares, especially in New York or other major cities, and you think the drivers are making off like bandits, think again. I have been interviewing cabbies in major cities across the country about how they get paid and what they make, and the dollars can be pretty dismal except in rare cases, or where the Taxi Authority jacks up the rates for special events or major weather problems like the hurricane in New York on August 27th that never came but the fares were doubled anyway.