This Week in Rideshare: Scholarships, Masks and Carpools.

MONDAY 5/2/22

On Friday, Oklahoma’s House passed the Heartbeat Act (SB 1503), a law that bans abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy — much earlier than many women become aware that they’re pregnant — and now awaits Governor Stitt’s signature. Like a similar anti-abortion law recently passed in Texas, Oklahoma’s bill also gives individuals the right to sue someone who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” This includes the clinic that performs the procedure, as well as the person who drives the woman to the medical building.

Lyft and Uber both said they would cover drivers’ legal fees after Texas passed its anti-abortion law in September, and now they’re doing the same for drivers in Oklahoma. Shortly after the bill passed through Oklahoma’s legislature, Lyft CEO Logan Green announced on Twitter that the company “will cover 100 percent of legal fees” for drivers sued under the forthcoming law.

TUESDAY 5/3/22

Recently, she began raising money in hopes of helping future students live out her son’s dream of becoming a veterinarian.

After contacting Mr. Philpotts’ alma maters, Illinois State and Eastern Illinois, she started a GoFundMe page, collecting money for a potential endowment to fund a scholarship for at least one of the schools.

The fundraiser is titled “The Dr. Kristian ‘KP’ Philpotts Scholarship.”

“I wanted to keep his name out there and keep his memory alive, because he was such a great person, always looking for ways to help others,” Rice said. “This is a way to help others. His name could live on forever with this scholarship.”

WEDNESDAY 5/4/22

Uber Technologies Inc. delivered a positive outlook for earnings in the current period, signaling the company plans to capitalize on robust ride demand without compromising profits by focusing on product changes, rather than incentives, to address the driver shortage.

“After more than two years of persistent and sometimes unpredictable impacts to our business, our Q1 results make clear that we are emerging on a strong path out of the pandemic,” Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in the statement.

Khosrowshahi said Uber’s driver base is at a “post-pandemic high” and that it expects engagement to continue “without significant incremental incentive investments.”

THURSDAY 5/5/22

As governments roll back masking policies, ride-hailing drivers are left to set their own rules. Uber and Lyft spokespeople say that any rider or driver who wants to continue wearing a mask can do so. In an email sent to drivers last week, Uber wrote that masks are still recommended.

In the US, app-based drivers are independent contractors, which means legally they run their own businesses. Theoretically, the apps just serve as an intermediary between drivers and riders.

FRIDAY 5/6/22

In May, Lyft Shared rides will return to five US cities: San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. The company has been operating its carpooling service in Philadelphia and Miami since last summer.

Lyft said it has made some changes to shared rides to make it better and more reliable for passengers and drivers alike. Before the pandemic, carpooling was often the cheapest option on Lyft’s platform. But many drivers hated it, complaining about low customer ratings, an inefficient algorithm, and roundabout directions that tend to annoy riders despite the low fare

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