This Week in Rideshare: Electric Cars, Broken Bikes and California Court.
Lyft goes electric, Uber dumps bikes, and California revisits rideshare. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Lyft made a bold statement on Monday, declaring they will go all electric by 2030. The Verge explains:
With the help of the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group, Lyft hopes to slash gas consumption by over one billion gallons. A white paper Lyft published this week contends that all transportation network companies should reduce carbon footprints.
In the 10-year transition period, Lyft’s Express Drive program will allow some drivers to rent electric cars from the company in exchange for driving a certain number of weekly hours.
Uber’s unrelenting pursuit of scale created all sorts of problems for those working on the bikeshare systems on the ground. In cities with high rates of theft or vandalism, the same people hired to retrieve, charge, and fix bikes were also responsible for recovering stolen ones, an occasionally dicey proposition. To address this, Uber hired private security teams, which three employees referred to as “hired goons,” to assist in getting the stolen bikes back. One employee from Providence, Rhode Island, described a scene in which one “hired goon” wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying handcuffs and pepper spray “tackled” a Black teenage girl riding a JUMP bike.
While the pandemic first created a shortage of riders, it’s now creating a gap in drivers. WWMT reported on the story:
Burrows said with fewer drivers, passengers faced longer waits. Something he said was good for his business, but bad for the riders.
“My riders have been telling me it’s tough to get rides anywhere,” Burrows said. “Even in busy places like Chicago, Uber drivers are scarce.”
Uber and Lyft may be forced to reclassify their drivers as employees in California in coming weeks. The state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday he’s filing a preliminary injunction against the two companies, accelerating an already heated battle between California and the ride-hailing services.
The injunction comes after Becerra and the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco sued Uber and Lyft last month. They say the companies are violating a state law called AB 5 by refusing to make their drivers employees.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay damages between $4,000 and $30,000 to four people with disabilities, pay a civil penalty of $40,000, and will provide the DOJ with biannual written reports about its ADA compliance efforts over the next three years.
The DOJ says it launched the investigation after a man in Los Angeles who uses a wheelchair — identified in the settlement agreement as D.H. — filed a dozen complaints about drivers in his area.
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