This Week in Rideshare: Japan, Pay and Waymo.

4 min readOct 27, 2023


Japan lifts its ban, how much drivers actually make and Uber goes self-driving. LegalRideshare breaks it down.

MONDAY 10/23/23

Japan may lift its ban on ride sharing. Bloomberg reported:

Facing a shortage of drivers and shrinking options for transportation, the Japanese government is moving toward lifting its ban on ride sharing, a move that could open the door for Uber Technologies Inc. and its rivals to expand services.

The number of drivers in the taxi industry has declined about 20% since 2019, according to Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations. Looser regulations on ride sharing could make travel more convenient for inbound travelers and depopulated areas that lack public transportation.

The federation has criticized ride-sharing as an attempt to “position drivers as independent sole proprietors and evade labor regulations.” In order to ensure safe and secure transportation services, the organization said it will “do its utmost to prevent the lifting of the ban on ride sharing” with local groups, it said.

TUESDAY 10/24/23

Amazon paid $350,000 for fake meals. Forbes reported:

Every other month, Amazon runs an induction event for new executives called Escape Velocity. There are speakers — sometimes including the top brass like founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy — as well as training, happy hours and food. It’s a costly event to run, as evidenced in expenses for catering and drinks filed by one event organizer between March 2021 and May 2022, totalling over $350,000.

There was something odd about the organizer’s expenses, however: they were filed during a period in which Escape Velocity events had gone virtual due to Covid-19 and there was neither food nor drink required. According to the Department of Justice, she was really furnishing a lavish lifestyle with “fictitious” expenses, filed with Seattle catering company Gourmondo (totaling $243,000), UberEats vouchers ($51,000) and fake happy hours at local restaurant 2120 ($55,000). (She has not yet been charged, so Forbes is not publishing her real name.)

After the FBI was told by the three companies that they had no record of the Amazon employee’s spending, investigators looked into her various outgoings financed, in part, by the expenses, which reached $410,000, according to search warrants reviewed by Forbes. They included a $55,000 Land Rover and three Chanel bags worth a combined $18,500. Those items have now been seized by the FBI.

WEDNESDAY 10/25/23

How much do drivers really make? Business Insider reported:

Over the last few years, studies have come to a wide range of conclusions about drivers’ hourly pay, from as low as between about $9 and $12 an hour to as high as between about $23 and $28 an hour.

These findings run contrary to the pay figures that ride-hailing companies have provided. In the past year, Uber and Lyft have said their typical driver earns about $35 and $36 an hour, respectively.

Meanwhile, Insider has spoken with several drivers whose pay has ranged from about $22 to $40 an hour, per their calculations.

Five drivers previously told Insider that their driving expenses — including gas and maintenance — amounted to between about $4 and $8 an hour. Uber and Lyft’s $35 and $36 hourly figures didn’t account for expenses.

THURSDAY 10/26/23

Uber will offer self-driving cars in Phoenix. CNBC reported:

Uber partnered with the autonomous car company Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet, in May. Phoenix is the first city where Uber has publicly rolled out access to Waymo’s cars, in part because it is “the largest fully autonomous service area in the world,” according to a release.

The autonomous Uber rides will be serviced by Waymo vehicles, and rides will be the same price as the traditional car rides Uber offers, an Uber spokesperson told CNBC. The spokesperson added that both Uber and Waymo have received support from local regulators.

FRIDAY 10/27/23

Uber’s CEO is very confident about its future. Just Auto reported:

“We are seeing weekday commutes as [a] particular strength,” Khosrowshahi said. “As more companies like us are telling their teams, ‘Hey let’s get back to the office.’”

Khosrowshahi also noted that Uber has found the formula for increasing (spending) activity on the platform, which focuses on getting users to use different services. He gave the example of someone who books an UberX, being able to be moved to the delivery/grocery segment.

Uber’s Q2 2023 delivery gross bookings were up 14%, an increase from 12% growth posted in Q1 2023.

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