Uber’s new service, Lyft’s new feature, and Amazon’s new deal. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Uber might be launching a new service. Engadget reported:
According to Bloomberg, the company is exploring the possibility of offering a new TaskRabbit-like service. Developer Steve Moser found code hidden within Uber’s iPhone app for an offering that’s reportedly codenamed “Chore.” Based on its current iteration, Chore will let you hire “taskers” and will let you specify in the app what you need help with, how long you think it would take and what time you want the tasker to arrive.
Of course, you’ll be able to input the address of where you want the person to go before you submit your request. Uber will then compute a payment that’s commensurate with the time required to finish the task, but you will have to pay for a minimum of one hour no matter what it is. Bloomberg says the code Moser unearthed didn’t have hints on what types of help you can ask from providers, but the potential service’s rival TaskRabbit has a wide range of categories to choose from. These include cleaning, furniture assembly, electrical help, plumbing, TV mounting, packing and moving, snow removal, computer assistance, pet sitting and even senior care.
Lyft adds a new feature to improve safety. The Verge reported:
On Tuesday, rideshare service Lyft launched Women Plus Connect, an in-app feature that “matches women and nonbinary drivers with more women and nonbinary riders.” The move is an effort to improve safety and encourage more women and nonbinary drivers to work with the company. A report by The Verge found that female rideshare drivers frequently face harassment and sexual assault and feel unsupported by rideshare companies.
The feature offers Lyft drivers an option to turn on a preference in the Lyft app to prioritize matches with other nearby women and nonbinary riders. It’s not a guarantee, however, and if no riders that match that description are nearby, drivers will still be matched with men.
Amazon is boosting pay for delivery drivers. CNBC reported:
The company announced the pay bump at an annual, closed-door conference called Ignite Live with the 3,500 small businesses that make up its delivery service partner program. The DSP program, launched in 2018, comprises about 279,000 drivers, often distinguishable by blue Amazon-branded vans, who are responsible for delivering packages the last few miles to shoppers’ doorsteps.
Amazon did not say how much it was raising wages, but the company now anticipates the average delivery associate will earn $20.50 per hour on average, or more, plus benefits. The DSPs regularly pay above the minimum set by Amazon, and it audits DSP wages “on a regular basis,” Tomay said. The amount differs depending on where the contractors are based, among other factors, she said.
One op-ed explains how the gig economy is on the losing end. CT News Junkie adds:
And if they’ve been in the gig economy for long, they know they are on the losing end of an economic system where people with resources benefit from the ease and convenience of, say, a quick ride to the train station, while the driver walks away with sometimes shockingly little compensation. They are not much protected by labor laws. Forget health insurance. They don’t get that, either.
In public testimony, one Waterbury app-based driver said she’s watched her pay drop from $600 a week for five days’ driving during the worst of the pandemic, to $200 a week — if it’s a busy week, and never mind tire repairs.
The gig economy is, according to some estimates, about to blow past $455 billion. Government regulation has not kept up, though the Federal Trade Commission has dipped a toe in, as with a $61.7 million fine they levied against Amazon in 2021 for not paying Amazon Flex drivers their share of customer tips. The FTC also announced last September that it would start prioritizing protecting gig workers.