This Week In Rideshare: Autonomous, Shoppers, and Profits.

LegalRideshare
4 min readAug 3, 2023

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Test driver is charged, drivers pay gets cut, and Uber makes money. LegalRideshare breaks it down.

MONDAY 7/31/23

The test driver in the deadly autonomous vehicle crash gets sentenced. Jalopnik reported:

In March 2018, one of Uber’s autonomous prototypes hit a pedestrian crossing the street. The victim, Elaine Herzberg, was taken to the hospital and later died from her injuries. It was later revealed that Rafaela Vasquez, the safety operator, was looking at her phone leading up to the fatal crash. At the time there were questions about whether Vasquez or Uber would be held responsible for Herzberg’s death, but five years later, the court has pinned the blame on Vasquez.

CNN reports that Vasquez pleaded guilty to endangerment on Friday, after initially being charged with negligent homicide back in 2020. She was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and will only have a misdemeanor on her record after she completes her sentence. Vasquez will also have to pay restitution to the victims, which includes the insurance companies.

Uber settled with Herzberg’s family soon after her death and did not face any criminal charges. It later came out that Uber had removed a “key fail-safe” that likely could have prevented her death because it braked too frequently, and the company was under pressure to keep up with rival Waymo.

TUESDAY 8/1/23

Instacart cuts its base pay for drivers. Business Insider reported:

Drivers for the delivery service are now paid a minimum of $4 per order, down from $7, according to the company and interviews and screenshots from three drivers. The cut affects base pay, or an amount that Instacart workers are guaranteed to get if they accept an order. They can earn more from customer tips.

Instacart’s blog post says that orders with at least $4 in base pay might involve “delivering a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream.” But screenshots sent to Insider by Instacart shoppers from the last few days show more complex orders. One order sent by a shopper in Indiana required driving just over a mile from the store — but only after picking up 45 items in at a grocery store for pay of just under $7.

WEDNESDAY 8/2/23

Uber makes a profit, but stock still sinks. Forbes reported:

Uber posted a positive operative income for the first time in its history last quarter, but its share price flailed in early Tuesday trading as concerns about slowing sales outweighed investor optimism for the long bleeding business.

But the stock quickly turned negative after the market opened, sliding as much as 6%, which would have been its worst day since October 11, 2022, before recovering to a milder 4% loss which is its steepest since March.

Despite the record profit, Uber’s $9.2 billion in revenue came short of consensus estimates, while its 14% year-over-year revenue growth was its weakest since Q1 2021.

Even after its roughly 100% surge over the past year, Uber stock is still down roughly 20% from its early 2021 peak.

THURSDAY 8/3/23

Uber CEO shocked to learn price of a ride. Yahoo! Finance reported:

Wired’s editor at large, Steven Levy, took a 2.95-mile Uber ride from downtown New York City to the West Side to meet Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. When asked to estimate the cost of the ride, Khosrowshahi put it at “twenty bucks,” Levy wrote. His estimate, as it turned out, was less than half the actual price of $51.69, including a tip for the driver.

“Oh my God. Wow,” the CEO said upon learning the cost.

That wasn’t the worst of it. Levy said that when he first tried to book an Uber to get to the interview, the price was $20 higher. Khosrowshahi chalked that up to surge pricing, though as Levy noted, “It’s 10 am on a sunny weekday, and it’s not like the president’s in town.”

LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries. Consultations are always free.

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LegalRideshare

We’re the only law firm in the US entirely focused on Uber, Lyft, and gig worker accident and injury claims. FREE CONSULTATIONS at LegalRideshare.com