This Week in Rideshare: Seattle, Waymo, and Recession.

MONDAY 6/6/22

If it feels to Gahayr and his fellow Seattle-area drivers like the passengers haven’t returned, it’s because they haven’t. In the first quarter of 2022, drivers for Uber and Lyft provided around 3.3 million rides in King County, according to data provided by the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services through a public records request. That’s just 36% of the companies’ combined 2019 peak of 9.3 million rides.

Trips have rebounded some from the depths of the pandemic, when the region saw only 1.3 million rides in the second quarter of 2020. But for most of 2021 and into 2022, trips have plateaued.

TUESDAY 6/7/22

Waymo and Uber, former legal foes and bitter rivals in the autonomous vehicle space, are teaming up to speed up the adoption of driverless trucks. Waymo is integrating Uber Freight, the ride-hail company’s truck brokerage, into the technology that powers its autonomous big rigs.

Waymo describes the team-up as a “deep integration” of each company’s products, including a jointly developed “product roadmap” to outline how autonomous trucks will get deployed on Uber’s network once they are commercial ready. Until then, Waymo says it will use Uber Freight with its own test fleet to better understand how driverless trucks will receive and accept delivery orders.

WEDNESDAY 6/8/22

Uber has built a “private-label” version of its delivery platform to help the United Nations deliver food and water supplies to war-torn areas of Ukraine.

It’s a bespoke version of the Uber Direct delivery platform which is available commercially — big name customers include Apple and Tesco. Usually, businesses pay Uber a commission per delivery for the service, but the WFP is not being charged.

It can use the software to co-ordinate distribution, and track deliveries and drivers within a 100km range of its warehouses.

The scheme is being trialled in the central city of Dnipro. The hope is that it will be rolled out later across four other cities: Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi.

THURSDAY 6/9/22

Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is “recession resistant” and doesn’t see a need for job cuts, even as market volatility and the prospect of a global recession loom over technology companies.

“The signal on the street is things are really strong and the spend on services continues to be quite robust,” Khosrowshahi said during an interview Wednesday at the Bloomberg Technology Summit.

The optimistic tone comes after Khosrowshahi told staff in May that the ride-hailing giant would “treat hiring as a privilege and be deliberate about when and where we add headcount.” Rival Lyft Inc. also said it plans to significantly slow hiring and cut costs.

FRIDAY 6/10/22

Just as you can see a driver’s rating before they pick you up, drivers will see your rating before they decide to take your ride request. The higher your rating is, the more likely you are to be a good passenger and one that the driver wouldn’t mind having in their car. That also means if you have a low rating, it may be difficult for you to have a driver accept your request.

Be aware that a driver has to give you a rating before they can accept their next ride request, so the rating will be up-to-date with your most recent ride. Also remember that drivers do not have to explain why they gave you a particular rating. So while you may see your rating fluctuate depending on your rides, you won’t know why a driver pushed your rating lower.

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