This Week in Rideshare: Uber U.K., 104 hours and transgender drivers.
Uber takes an L in London, Chicago drivers are stuck in traffic and Uber botches signups. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
U.K. judges ruled that the tech firm should enter into a direct contract with passengers when providing car journeys and therefore assume more responsibility for each trip booked on their app. Uber had sought clarity over comments made in a portion of a Supreme Court court ruling given earlier this year.
Uber and others “will need to amend the basis on which they provide their services,” after the court concluded that “in order to operate lawfully, an operator must undertake a contractual obligation to passengers,” the judges said Monday. They also said London’s transport regulator will need to reconsider its current guidance to reflect the ruling.
Chicago drivers spend an awful lot of time in traffic. Approximately 104 hours a year. Chicago Tribune reported:
Chicago drivers spent the equivalent of more than four days stuck in commute traffic this year — more time than drivers in any other major U.S. city, according to a new study.
When the size of the city is factored in, Chicago’s traffic puts it second in the nation for the impact the congestion has on the region. In the U.S., only the New York urban area’s congestion has a higher impact, according to the study from mobility analytics firm Inrix.
As the holiday season gears up, prices are sure to follow. Thrillist reported:
Rideshare prices have remained on the rise for much of the pandemic, with circumstances only getting worse in recent months thanks to a driver shortage. In fact, according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who discussed the topic during the November 4 earnings call, prices were up 20% year-over-year in November. With travel demand continuing to skyrocket throughout the holidays, things are about to get worse.
“It might even get worse over the holiday season as the travel demand explodes,” CEO of Travel Search Engine RideGuru Ippei Takahashi chimed in. “It’s not uncommon to see 2x, 3x or 4x prices. … We’re talking about a ride that usually costs $50 costing $200. So those definitely hit consumers’ pockets directly.”
A new bill by the EU sets its sights on drivers as employees. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The draft bill, proposed Thursday by the EU’s executive arm, would establish a presumption that many of the companies in what is often called the gig economy actually employ workers, depending on the level of control the companies exercise over how workers perform their jobs. Until now, most such companies have deemed the majority of their workers to be independent contractors.
EU officials estimate that roughly 5 million of 28 million people who do what is also known as platform work in the bloc would be reclassified under the new rules. Many are workers who perform in-person services, such as drivers and delivery workers, the EU officials said.
Uber’s attempt to become inclusive and encourage transgender drivers has severely backfired. Los Angeles Times reported:
Uber at times has blocked transgender and nonbinary people from driver and delivery jobs by treating their documents as fraudulent, suspending their accounts and failing to rectify the situation, according to interviews with drivers and documentation provided by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which petitioned the company to restore Escobedo’s account.
Drivers have had their accounts permanently banned, according to documentation of written communications with the company shared by five workers. None managed to get their accounts reactivated through Uber’s appeals process.
One driver had been working for Uber Eats for more than a year without issue. Prompted by the company’s marketing of a new option allowing transgender drivers to update their names and profile pictures, she resubmitted her documents in late August. Her profile photo was rejected as fraudulent, her account was shut down and she was permanently removed from the platform.
LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries.