This Week in Rideshare: $5B, prices, and insurance.

MONDAY 5/16/22

With upcoming data showing traffic deaths soaring, the Biden administration is steering $5 billion in federal aid to cities and localities to address the growing crisis by slowing down cars, carving out bike paths and wider sidewalks and nudging commuters to public transit.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday announced the availability of money over five years under his department’s new Safe Streets & Roads for All program.

The aim will be to provide a direct infusion of federal cash to communities that pledge to promote safety for the multiple users of a roadway, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as motorists.

TUESDAY 5/17/22

The San Francisco-based tech firm unveiled enhancements to its platform as it navigates tough economic conditions but looks to ride a busy travel season.

“After two years of pandemic living, 2022 is looking like a sea change,” said Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

“One of the busiest travel seasons is upon us, a record-breaking number of weddings will be held this year, and climate is at the center of the global conversation.”

The suite of products unveiled by Uber was intended to help users “go anywhere and get anything,” he added, building on Uber’s goal of being an app used for far more than simply summoning rides.

WEDNESDAY 5/18/22

How Uber rights the ship is not for me to figure out, but one obvious answer is that rides have been getting — and will continue to get — more expensive. Average Uber prices rose 92 percent between 2018 and 2021, according to data from Rakuten; a separate analysis reports an increase of 45 percent between 2019 and 2022. Both Uber and Lyft have added a surcharge for riders that helps drivers account for high gas prices. And all that was before last week’s ultimatum.

THURSDAY 5/19/22

Beginning in August, House Bill 1089 will require transportation network companies to carry uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policies. Currently, the companies must carry liability insurance to pay for passenger injuries in crashes where their driver is at fault, but they do not have to pay anything when another driver is at fault. Because of this, the bill’s proponents say, passengers are unprotected in hit-and-run crashes and crashes where the at-fault driver is uninsured.

FRIDAY 5/20/22

For both Uber and Lyft, giving rides to unaccompanied minors is against the rules, something Kellen said parents often don’t realize when he rejects their request.

“You get there in the morning and then parents are complaining ‘Well I’ve never had a problem before,’” Kellen said. “I’m like ‘Well, somebody probably just doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of what it takes to say ‘no.’”

KETV NewsWatch 7 Investigates reached out to both Uber and Lyft. Uber points to its community guidelines that say anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Drivers are asked to report situations to Uber’s 24/7 team when a rider may be underage. Drivers are also advised to ask for ID and decline the trip if the rider appears underage.

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