Using Uber to get your kids to school? Don’t, drivers say

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized how we get around, and now parents are trying to use them …

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized how we get around, and now parents are trying to use them to get their kids to school.

After several encounters with kids trying to Uber to school, one Brooksville Uber driver wants to remind parents that it’s against the app’s terms of service to let those under 18 ride without an adult.

Peter Dodge started driving for Uber in April as a way to make some extra cash. The 53-year-old quickly noticed kids would use the app to try and summon rides, as well as parents requesting rides for their children.

Just last week, Dodge had to cancel a ride because when he showed up, two young girls were trying to Uber to a local middle school.

“I tried to explain to the father that either he would have to ride with them, and he’d have to do a return trip, or I couldn’t take them,” Dodge said.

Uber drivers are obligated to decline and report unauthorized use and the company keeps track of under-aged rider reports. However, when 8 On Your Side reached out to inquire if they’ve seen a rising trend of under-aged use, Uber declined to comment.

Dodge respects the company’s rules but also understands the appeal to parents, who may lack reliable transportation to get their kids to and from school.

“Parents are working, they don’t have much of an option,” Dodge said. “We see it on the news all the time, somebody is getting hit, so parents are worried about the safety of their kids.”

Florida students typically don’t have access to a school bus if they live within two miles of their school, a law that Hillsborough County Schools announced Wednesday the district is challenging.

Ride apps designed with kids in mind exist, like HopSkipDrive, but have yet to launch in the Tampa Bay area.

If the rules change, Dodge feels Uber or Lyft could be a trusted way to get kids to school. In the meantime, however, he plans to drive by the books.

“I ask if they have ID,” Dodge said, when picking up riders who appear young. “It’s about all you can do.”

Adults who get caught requesting Ubers for kids to ride alone risk having their account suspended.

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Mike Smyth: Uber gets ready to roll, but ride-hailing fight isn’t over

Opinion: Finally! Uber confirms it will apply for a licence to operate in Metro Vancouver. Will it create more traffic gridlock and congestion? Everyone …

Opinion: Finally! Uber confirms it will apply for a licence to operate in Metro Vancouver. Will it create more traffic gridlock and congestion?

Everyone knows you can wait a long time for a taxi in Vancouver, but we’ve been waiting a helluva lot longer for Uber and Lyft to show up.

About seven years, in fact. That’s how long a bunch of gutless politicians have kept Metro Vancouver residents waiting for ride-hailing services commonplace around the world. Uber first tried operating in Vancouver — without a licence — in 2012.

The Gordon Campbell Liberals, in power at the time, shut them down faster than you can say “taxi monopoly” and vowed to hunt down any Uber drivers who dared to pick up another passenger. The Liberals threatened to use undercover agents posing as passengers to catch and prosecute illegal Uber drivers. That’s why I feel the old gag reflex rising whenever I hear the Liberals complaining about the NDP’s slow pace in approving ride-hailing.

The New Democrats have dragged their feet too. I remember when John Horgan — now the premier, but then in opposition — demanded that the Liberals quadruple the fines to $20,000 for unlicensed ride-hailing drivers.

The New Democrats have now delayed another two years on ride-hailing. And they’ve brought in some restrictive ride-hailing operating rules to please the taxi companies that both political parties have so obsequiously obeyed.

But if I had to compare the two parties’ records on the file, the higher marks must go to the New Democrats. It may have taken years, but it appears Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies will start operating this fall, finally approved by the NDP.

Uber announced Wednesday that the company will apply for a B.C. operating licence next month and hopes to be operating in Metro by Christmas. (If that sounds familiar, it’s because Horgan promised ride-hailing before the last two Christmases.) Lyft earlier announced plans to also seek an operating licence in September.

The two big ride-hailing companies have complained about some of the operating rules, including the requirement for drivers to obtain a Class 4 commercial driver’s licence.

Critics, meanwhile, have predicted carmageddon, with newly licensed Uber and Lyft cars clogging the streets and creating traffic chaos.

The proof will be in the proverbial pudding. If there are traffic-congestion problems, the province can always cap the number of drivers.

In the meantime, anti-ride-hailing forces aren’t giving up the fight.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum — still obedient to the taxi firms — announced that he opposes ride-hailing and wants even more restrictive operating rules.

And the taxi companies have threatened a lawsuit to stop the whole thing.

I hope we see a smooth and peaceful rollout of ride-hailing, though angry taxi drivers could voice their displeasure. There have been some nasty protests by cabbies elsewhere in Canada.

But something tells me the sky won’t fall and the sun will still come up once ride-hailing finally arrives. If there are problems, they can be fixed.

It’s not rocket science. Never was. It’s been pure politics. At least the New Democrats are giving ride-hailing a try, and they deserve credit for that.

msmyth@postmedia.com

twitter.com/MikeSmythNews


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Uber-Careem pre-merger application: CCP decides to open phase-II review

In a major development in the case of international merger of Uber and Careem, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has decided to open …

In a major development in the case of international merger of Uber and Careem, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has decided to open the Phase-II review of the proposed merger to address the competition concerns, if any, arising out of the merger. Phase-II is an in-depth analysis of the merger’s effects on competition and requires more time. It is opened when the case cannot be resolved in Phase-I, ie. when the Commission has concerns that the transaction could restrict competition in the relevant market.

According to sources, the CCP is legally empowered to impose conditions before approving the merger to address competition concerns. An order passed by the CCP, a copy of which is available with Business Recorder, states: “The transaction is likely to result in strengthening of dominant position in the relevant market (of Ridesharing) as it meets the presumption of dominance as determined under Section (2) (1) (e) read with Section 3 of the Competition Act,”

The order further states: “In conclusion, the Commission finds that the proposed transaction is likely to substantially lessen competition through the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in the relevant market. Accordingly, a Phase-II is hereby initiated under Section 11 (6) of the Competition Act.”

In a joint pre-merger application submitted with CCP, Uber and Careem had sought merger approval in the first phase on the grounds that ridesharing services are part of the broader local, urban transportation market including all the means of transporting people from A to B including rickshaws, taxis, buses and mini buses. Based on this definition of the relevant market, the applicants submitted that their combined market share never made them dominant in the relevant market.

However, the CCP did not agree with this assessment of Uber and Careem, stating that “ridesharing by reasons of its characteristics, prices, and intended usage is not interchangeable or substitutable with the other modes of transportation as stated above.” Uber Technologies, Inc. is an American multinational transportation network company (TNC) offering services that include peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, food delivery, and a bicycle-sharing system.

The company is based in San Francisco and has operations in over 785 metropolitan areas worldwide. Careem is the internet platform for the greater Middle East region. Established in July 2012, Careem operates in 120 cities across 15 countries and has created more than one million economic opportunities in the region.

In March 2019, Uber announced that it has reached an agreement with Careem for Uber to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, consisting of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. The acquisition of Careem is subject to applicable regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.

Uber will acquire all of Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Upon closing, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will lead the Careem business, which will report to its own board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands.

Pakistani consumers are eyeing on CCP for its decision of this important merger as there are widespread concerns that it might lead to costlier services by eliminating competition. However, sources familiar with the development told Business Recorder that CCP may impose conditions before approving the merger to address competition concerns.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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Drivers call for emergency hearings after rushed vote

Being forced to lease also means drivers relying on apps like Uber and Lyft … Taveras lives on Riverdale Avenue but drives “all over” the city for Lyft.
By KIRSTYN BRENDLEN

Last year, believing it would help curb Manhattan traffic congestion and give yellow cab drivers a little relief, the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission capped the number of vehicles it would allow for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

The move, at least according to those who supported it, was to give the commission and elected leaders more time to study the effects ride-hailing services have had on traffic in the city. Yet, some of that support waned Aug. 7 when the TLC voted to extend the cap on for-hire vehicles from a year to indefinitely.

That vote was rushed, said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the city council’s transportation committee. The full effects of the vehicle cap are unknown, Rodriguez stated in a July 19 tweet, and such a vote should have waited until the TLC has permanent leadership.

Meera Joshi resigned as TLC’s chair in March. Bill Heinzen — a deputy counselor during the Michael Bloomberg administration — is the interim chair. Mayor Bill de Blasio nominated one-time TLC deputy commissioner Jeff Roth for the position in June, but withdrew the nomination a month later after a disastrous appearance in front of the city council and has yet to nominate someone else.

The TLC is responsible for licensing and regulating all for-hire vehicles in the city, including yellow and green taxis, black cars, and ride-hail vehicles. Drivers must also be licensed through the commission.

Some drivers and advocates believe the vehicle cap, along with other recently passed regulations, will hurt drivers, especially low-income drivers for smartphone apps like Uber and Lyft who rely on picking up passengers as their primary income. The cap could also affect people who live and work in “transit deserts,” where there are few other options for efficient transportation.

The Independent Drivers Guild union has called on the city council to hold emergency hearings in response to the vote, demanding TLC discuss the concerns about the impact the vote will have on drivers and pay. The union wants the TLC to limit driver’s licenses, not vehicle licenses, which would limit new drivers while still allowing them to use their own vehicles.

With the cap, new drivers can come in, but they may be forced to rent already-approved vehicles, which could significantly cut into their income.

The rules don’t disproportionately affect the outer boroughs, according to TLC spokeswoman Rebecca Harshbarger. She points to a recent study by the city’s transportation department and the TLC that showed daily rides increased in the Bronx by 43 percent between February and May while wait times decreased.

“We take outer borough service needs seriously and have the data to monitor what’s really going on,” Hashbarger said. “So far, none of the empirical data backs up any of this fear-mongering.”

But capping vehicles creates “predatory” behavior that leaves car-less drivers victims, said drivers guild spokeswoman Moira Muntz. Drivers who can’t get a vehicle past the cap are instead forced to rent their vehicle from companies that use their position as license holders to charge high prices for cars.

Being forced to lease also means drivers relying on apps like Uber and Lyft for income cannot purchase their own cars, Muntz added, leaving them stuck in a cycle of expensive monthly payments without the benefits of vehicle ownership.

Yet, TLC assessments show leasing rates have changed little from before the vehicle ban went into effect, Harshbarger said. “We have asked driver groups for documentation of leasing rates going up, which will help us know if there is a problem we haven’t yet seen.”

Lyft drivers who frequent the outer boroughs face an additional obstacle. Utilization rates passed last year required ride-hailing apps to pay their drivers not only for the time they have a passenger, but for time in between rides and while drivers are on their way to pick up a passenger. In response, Muntz said, Lyft started limiting the time drivers in low-demand areas could cruise.

That means a Lyft driver spending time in Riverdale might be instructed by the app to drive to a “high demand” area — likely in Manhattan — where they’re more likely to pick up another fare. Until they make that move, Lyft logs the driver out, meaning they won’t be paid for the drive.

Getting cars to Manhattan might be great for the bottom line of companies like Lyft, Muntz said, but it pulls those drivers from the outer boroughs.

“There might be nowhere else that has demand,” the union spokeswoman said. “It may say, ‘If you want a drive, go to Manhattan.’ There’s no guarantees.”

But drivers who rent their car from Lyft are exempt, Muntz said, and may keep driving until they get a fare.

There are other exceptions. Fausto Taveras lives on Riverdale Avenue but drives “all over” the city for Lyft. Yet he has not been kicked off the app in low-demand areas.

Why? “Because I make a lot of rides in the month,” he said. “If you work a lot, you’re a priority driver. You have to make more than 100 rides a month.”

Taveras has had his for-hire vehicle license since 2001 and owns his car, something he says is more common than many might believe during the Manhattan traffic congestion debate.

In fact, the TLC estimates that nearly 80 percent of for-hire vehicle drivers own their cars rather than lease, pointing out that the leasing companies called “predatory” by both the union and ride-hailing advocates usually work closely with Lyft and another ride-hail service Via, which encourage drivers to rent through those companies.

The TLC released a report last June that showed 30 percent of Manhattan’s traffic was for-hire vehicles, and that by limiting those vehicles, traffic downtown could improve.

Uber, which earned revenue of $6.3 billion in just the first half of the year, has sued the city challenging the vehicle cap. That case, according to published reports, is pending.

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Lyft and Uber may become attractive at different points of time

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi insists that his company is the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) of cars. Well, that’s of course for time to decide, but the …

Uber (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) may be birds of the same feather, but both the ride-hailing firms are poles apart. While both companies are losing money at a rapid rate, they are still poised to transform the transportation industry in the years to come, and in turn, reward loyal investors. The rewards are, however, likely to come at different points of time.

At present, both the stocks hardly present any solid reason to keep under the radar: Uber is down 24.4% from its offer price, while Lyft is down 28.6%. Despite these declines, the stocks are still considered overvalued by market watchers.

uber
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash (image for representation)

Lyft in the shorter term

However, on a closer watch, Lyft appears to have an edge in the shorter term. Look at the most recent earnings figures. Revenues climbed by 72% to $867.3 million, while adjusted EBITDA loss shrunk to $190 million from $204 million a year ago. These numbers lend more credibility to the company’s plan of action towards profitability.

Uber, meanwhile reported adjusted EBITDA loss that more-than-doubled to $656 million during the same period.

uber vs lyft Q2 performance

Lyft also has a stable management that keeps driving top-linegrowth through innovative strategies, besides offering a ride-hailing servicethat is more friendly to users. Even when it comes to autonomous drivingtechnology, which is seen as the key to profitability in the automobile industry,Lyft scores above Uber, thanks to the numerous partnerships it has inked withfirms such as Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Ford Motor (NYSE: F)and Irish autonomous technology company Aptiv (NYSE: APTV).

On the other hand, Uber’s self-driving ambitions have been marred by controversies including a fatal accident in Arizona and a tiff with Alphabet’s Waymo. It does have a partnership with Toyota and its self-driving cars are back on the road, but the controversies have wasted away a lot of time that could have been used productively.

Uber in the longer term

While these factors give Lyft an upper hand in the short term, if you are willing to widen your waiting period to a couple of years, it is likely to be Uber that delivers. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi insists that his company is the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) of cars. Well, that’s of course for time to decide, but the diversification of business outside ride-hailing should cushion the stock, in the event of an unprecedented breakdown in the auto industry.

uber vs lyft historic performance

Separately, the food delivery business is still in its nascent stages, suggesting it has a much higher scope of growth, even when its ride-hailing business slows down. According to Second Measure, UberEats is currently the third biggest food delivery app in the US in terms of sales with a market share of 12.8%. It trails DoorDash, with a market share of 36.5% and Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) with a share of 33.3%.

The expansion into other areas such as Uber Copter and Uber Freight should also make it attractive to investors who are looking at stocks with growth potential. The logistical advantages of primarily being a ride-hailing business should help boost growth in these sister units.

READ: Major IPOs expected in late-2019 or 2020

In the core ride-hailing business, Uber continues to hold a dominant status, with almost 71% market share. Despite all the growth Lyft has showcased over the past two years, it has hardly translated into market share growth, which continues to be at around 27%. Unless there occurs some drastic change of equations brought about by the introduction of driverless tech, Uber is likely to continue to maintain the dominant status.

Under Khosrowshahi, Uber is a more stable firm and confidence in the stock has improved. This is evident from the action of numerous hedge funds, which are buying more shares of Uber, but cutting down their stake on Lyft.

Undoing and repairing the damages done by his predecessor could take some time, but with the slow and steady approach that Khosrowshahi has adopted, things could turn for the better faster than expected.

Browse through our earnings calendar and get all scheduled earnings announcements, analyst/investor conference and much more!

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