This Week In Rideshare: Safety, Surge and Deactivations.

4 min readAug 11, 2023

New features come to Chicago, Lyft wants to drop surge pricing, and Seattle fights deactivations. LegalRideshare breaks it down.

MONDAY 8/7/23

Some driver groups aren’t pro driver at all. Fast Company reported:

In Massachusetts, two coalitions, each claiming to represent the real voice of rideshare drivers — but with sharply different funders — released dueling ballot initiatives this week to decide the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers.

What may not be immediately obvious to voters is that the group is bankrolled by tens of millions of dollars from the gig companies. It’s a reboot of their failed ballot initiative in 2022, a similar proposal that was struck down by the state’s high court for confusing voters with “murky language.” Advocates say it’s just a cynical attempt to use workers’ faces to block them from receiving much-needed labor protections — and it just might succeed.

TUESDAY 8/8/23

Drivers struggle for wins on the state level. Bloomberg Law reported:

In Colorado, a bill that died in committee would have required companies to provide drivers and riders detailed information about ride fees and how much drivers are paid.

Connecticut lawmakers considered a measure mandating pay rates for drivers, but it stalled after first being reduced to a task force.

In cases where compromise seems challenging, even staunchly pro-labor Democrats might be reluctant to pass legislation without direct buy-in from the likes of Uber and Lyft.

California’s AB 5 worker classification law passed in 2019 despite industry opposition, only to get tied up in litigation for years and eventually reversed by a ballot measure that ride-share companies favored.


New safety features come to Chicago. Fox32 reported:

Uber is expanding its in-app safety features for Chicago drivers and riders beginning Wednesday, the rideshare company announced.

Users in nearly 150 cities in the United States now have the option to use an audio recording feature during their ride.

The recording will remain private, not even accessible to the company, unless a driver or rider submits a safety report to Uber and attaches the file.

Riders and drivers will receive a notification prior to their ride if either person has the feature enabled.

THURSDAY 8/10/23

Lyft wants to kill surge pricing. TechCrunch reported:

Lyft appears to be not only trying to keep prices competitive with Uber, it’s also working to kill off surge pricing, or “primetime” as the company calls it.

During Tuesday’s earnings call, Risher said that surge pricing might work to incentivize more drivers during peak service, but it also acts as a demand suppressor when riders don’t want to pay exorbitant fees just to get home after work.

“[Primetime pricing] is a bad form of price raising,” said Risher. “It’s particularly bad because riders hate it with a fiery passion. And so we’re really trying to get rid of it, and because we’ve got such a good driver supply…it’s decreased significantly.”

FRIDAY 8/11/23

Seattle drivers get protections against deactivations. KIRO7 reported:

The bill, labeled CB 120580, changes how companies such as DoorDash, GrubHub and Instacart can deactivate their gig workers as it requires “14 days notice of an impending deactivation, except in the case of egregious misconduct,” the bill reads. There are other requirements as well.

“App-based work is work. It is done by human beings who deserve a stable work environment. Their livelihoods should not hinge on the decisions of an algorithm,” Herbold said in a council statement after the bill passed 6–2. “This law, the first of its kind in the nation, will protect app-based workers from arbitrary deactivation and give them meaningful recourse to appeal to a human being if they are deactivated.”

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