GOP Sen. Marco Rubio slams Didi’s US listing as ‘reckless and irresponsible’ – and calls it an unaccountable Chinese company

marco rubio ufo report
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio blasted the “reckless and irresponsible” decision to grant Didi’s US listing in an FT interview.
  • He called Didi “unaccountable” as China’s government blocks US regulators from reviewing its accounts.
  • “That puts the investments of American retirees at risk and funnels desperately needed US dollars into Beijing,” Rubio said.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Sen. Marco Rubio slammed the “reckless and irresponsible” decision to allow Chinese ride-hailing app maker Didi to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, speaking in a statement reported by the Financial Times Wednesday.

Rubio, one of the US government’s most vocal China critics, described Didi as an “unaccountable Chinese company,” and said Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the tech provider, which sent the stock lower, highlights the risks for US investors.

Didi’s share price plunged more than 19% on Tuesday, after Chinese authorities at the weekend ordered app stores to remove its app from their platforms. The country’s internet regulator earlier launched a review of its data security, and ordered it to stop registering new users.

“Even if the stock rebounds, American investors still have no insight into the company’s financial strength because the Chinese Communist party blocks US regulators from reviewing the books,” Rubio told the FT. “That puts the investments of American retirees at risk and funnels desperately needed US dollars into Beijing.”

The type of business structure used by Didi “deprives foreign investors of vital legal protections they would otherwise enjoy through equity ownership,” the Council of Institutional Investors said in a 2017 paper.

The Republican senator’s comments suggest that Didi’s IPO saga could fuel new efforts by US lawmakers to place tougher hurdles in the way of Chinese companies seeking listings in the US.

Last year, former President Donald Trump signed legislation that banned Chinese companies from being listed on US markets unless they conformed to American accounting standards.

The “Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act” applies to companies from any country, but the sponsors of the law are seen as targeting it at Chinese companies listed in the US, such as Jack Ma’s Alibaba, tech firm Pinduoduo, and oil giant PetroChina.

Didi’s stock was last trading 4% lower in the pre-market session on Wednesday around 6.30 a.m. ET at $11.97 per share.

Read More: Goldman Sachs names 30 stocks to buy for double-digit revenue growth in 2022 – and 4 sectors expected to beat the S&P 500’s sales growth

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber glitch is charging some drivers for rides, rather than paying them. One driver lost $50 on a single journey – so they quit the app.

A driver and passenger wear face masks as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Some Uber drivers say they’ve been charged to drive passengers thanks to a glitch in the app.

  • Uber drivers are being charged, rather than paid, for rides because of a glitch in the app.
  • One driver was charged $2.20 for a 16-minute journey. Another lost $50 on a single ride.
  • Both were later reimbursed but said they quit the app because of the experience.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some Uber drivers have effectively paid to drive their passengers around because a glitch in the app left them out of pocket after completing rides.

One driver in Illinois said he lost $2.20 on a 13.5-mile journey. The driver, who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity, said he had stopped driving for Uber and Uber Eats after what he said was a poor experience with the company’s driver helpline.

Another driver said she was charged nearly $50 for a ride and didn’t receive a fare for another.

Uber took days to reimburse the fares on some occasions, the drivers said.

Read more: Uber’s cheap and popular Pool ridesharing service lost the company as much as $1 million a week in San Francisco alone

The Illinois driver said he decided to drive early morning on May 30 after noticing that prices were spiking. Uber pays drivers more during these so-called “surges,” when it hikes up fares in areas with high demand and few drivers.

The driver said he accepted a request to drive a passenger from downtown Chicago to the city’s Midway International Airport – a 16-minute, 13.5-mile journey.

But, after dropping the passenger off, the driver checked his earnings on the Uber app and was surprised to find a negative balance for that ride.

He said it was the first time it had happened in his two years of driving for ride-hailing apps, which he said included nearly 1,700 rides for Uber and 500 for Lyft.

When the driver first accepted the ride, the app displayed an estimated fare of $36.67, higher than normal because it added a surge multiplier, he said. But when he checked his account, he saw Uber had removed the surge and the passenger was only charged $9.06.

And after Uber deducted a $11.26 service fee, the driver lost $2.20 from the trip, he said.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the app that verified these claims.

“It was completely crazy to me,” he said.

He isn’t the first Uber driver to encounter this problem.

After sharing his experience on Reddit, other drivers said that a common glitch was to blame, and that he’d be refunded.

In a separate Reddit thread, another Uber driver shared screenshots that showed they were charged $56.71 for driving a passenger, also in Chicago.

“It’s been going on for months now, and people post about it here almost weekly,” one Reddit user said.

Brianna Woodham, a former Uber driver in Atlanta, Georgia, told Insider that it had happened to her twice, and that she had stopped driving for the company as a result.

It happened once in early April, when Woodham was charged $49.54 for a ride, per screenshots seen by Insider. This was due to a surge fare being deducted, rather than added, to her account on the app. During another journey two weeks later, Woodham drove a passenger for 46 minutes – and earned nothing on it, screenshots shared with Insider showed.

Other users on Reddit said that on some occasions, they had only received their tip and not the full fare.

An Uber spokesperson told Insider that fares for certain trips booked through Uber Reserve, which lets riders book journeys up to 30 days in advance, were miscalculated “due to a software bug.”

“This was a terrible customer experience for drivers, and for that we apologize,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve ensured drivers have been paid in full for all affected trips, fixed the bug, and have put new safeguards in place.”

But both drivers Insider spoke to said that their glitched journeys had been booked through the standard UberX service, rather than Uber Reserve.

Drivers say they had problems contacting Uber for help

The Illinois driver said he called Uber’s driver support line from the help section of the app. But the line is only staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, according to the automated message drivers get when they call out-of-hours – meaning no one was there to answer the phone when the Illinois driver called.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to lose money on a trip and then have to wait two days to call support to have them fix it,” he said.

The spokesperson told Insider that all drivers have access to 24/7 support via in-app messaging, and that drivers who have completed 3,000 trips or are Uber Pro Gold, Diamond, or Platinum drivers have access to 24/7 phone support. Drivers at the blue level have access to phone support on weekdays, the spokesperson said.

The Illinois driver told Insider that he then turned to the Uber Twitter support account for help – and that after some back and forth, the Uber Twitter account stopped replying to his messages.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the Twitter conversation that verified his claims.

The driver decided to tweet about his experience. The tweet went viral – and Uber finally paid attention. A rep contacted him and Uber paid him the original $36.67 estimated fare, he told Insider, plus an extra $25 that the representative said was “for the inconvenience.”

“It took the will of the internet to even get the issue addressed,” the driver said.

Woodham, meanwhile, said that she was refunded by Uber for the first journey around a week after it happened – but that she still hasn’t been paid for the second, glitched ride more than two months later.

She said that she had reached out to Uber multiple times, but never received a helpful response or refund. She didn’t think the issue would ever get resolved, she told Insider.

Drivers quit Uber as a result

Because of the lack of support he received from Uber, the Illinois driver said that he was worried he’d be in danger if a serious incident happened. Drivers were “sitting ducks,” he said, and referred to a recent incident in Cicero, Illinois, where a driver was shot and killed.

“If I have a serious issue, it just opens my eyes to the fact that unless it’s Monday through Friday business hours, we’re out there on our own, there’s not gonna be anybody there to reach out to, to address an issue,” he said.

He said that he had stopped driving for Uber and planned to turn to food delivery instead, and Woodham also said that she had stopped driving for Uber after the second glitched ride.

“It just made me rethink which gigs I do want to do,” the Illinois driver said. “I should never be charged to work by anybody.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber and Lyft face up to 1,000 lawsuits claiming drivers sexually assaulted or harassed passengers, sometimes when the passengers were asleep

Uber sign
  • A California law firm plans to file up to 1,000 sexual assault lawsuits against Uber and Lyft, KPIX reported.
  • Lawyers from Levin Simes Abrams said some cases involve reports of drivers assaulting sleeping women.
  • The firm has called for mandatory surveillance cameras in cars to deter assaults.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber and Lyft could face nearly 1,000 individual lawsuits claiming that drivers sexually assaulted and harassed passengers, lawyers at firm Levin Simes Abrams told KPIX Wednesday.

The San Francisco-based law firm recently filed 85 lawsuits against Uber, mostly in San Francisco County Superior Court, with 321 cases pending, and filed more than 20 lawsuits against Lyft, with 517 cases pending, lawyers told KPIX.

About one third of those cases represented California residents, firm partners Rachel Abrams and Laurel Simes also told KRON in a separate interview on Wednesday.

Abrams and Simes told KRON that the 85 cases filed against Uber would not be joined together in a class-action lawsuit, because the details and severity of each case varied significantly.

The lawyers told KRON that hundreds of women came forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment after the firm took on its first case against Uber in 2019. In some cases, the women claimed drivers assaulted them when they were asleep or intoxicated, the lawyers said.

Firm attorney Meghan McCormick told KPIX in an interview that some drivers stand accused of ending rides early on the app “so it looks to anybody watching, or to Uber, as if they did exactly what they’re supposed to do.” They then drive the passenger “to a deserted place,” she said.

Abrams told KPIX that 99% of assaults “would be prevented if there was a camera.”

The ride-hailing apps announced in a joint statement in March that they would share data with each other on drivers who had been banned from their platforms for “the most serious safety incidents,” including sexual assaults and physical assaults that resulted in death.

In 2019, Uber released its first safety report, which said there had been 3,045 sexual assault reports on its US platform, out of 2.3 billion trips, between 2017 and 2018.

Uber said in a statement to KRON: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to support victims and help stop sexual violence by collaborating with experts, pioneering safety tech solutions, and setting the standard on transparency and accountability.”

Uber, Lyft, and Levin Simes Abrams did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Some Uber drivers say a glitch is charging them, rather than paying them, for rides. One driver lost $50 on a single journey – so they quit the app.

A driver and passenger wear face masks as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Some Uber drivers say they’ve been charged to drive passengers thanks to a glitch in the app.

  • Some Uber drivers are being charged, rather than paid, for rides because of a glitch in the app.
  • One driver was charged $2.20 for a 16-minute journey. Another lost $50 on a single ride.
  • Both were later reimbursed but said they quit the app because of the experience.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some Uber drivers have effectively paid to drive their passengers around because a glitch in the app left them out of pocket after completing rides.

One driver in Illinois said he lost $2.20 on a 13.5-mile journey. The driver, who spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity, said he had stopped driving for Uber and Uber Eats after what he said was a poor experience with the company’s driver helpline.

Another driver said she was charged nearly $50 for a ride and didn’t receive a fare for another.

Uber took days to reimburse the fares on some occasions, the drivers said.

Read more: Uber’s cheap and popular Pool ridesharing service lost the company as much as $1 million a week in San Francisco alone

The Illinois driver said he decided to drive early morning on May 30 after noticing that prices were spiking. Uber pays drivers more during these so-called “surges,” when it hikes up fares in areas with high demand and few drivers.

The driver said he accepted a request to drive a passenger from downtown Chicago to the city’s Midway International Airport – a 16-minute, 13.5-mile journey.

But, after dropping the passenger off, the driver checked his earnings on the Uber app and was surprised to find a negative balance for that ride.

He said it was the first time it had happened in his two years of driving for ride-hailing apps, which he said included nearly 1,700 rides for Uber and 500 for Lyft.

When the driver first accepted the ride, the app displayed an estimated fare of $36.67, higher than normal because it added a surge multiplier, he said. But when he checked his account, he saw Uber had removed the surge and the passenger was only charged $9.06.

And after Uber deducted a $11.26 service fee, the driver lost $2.20 from the trip, he said.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the app that verified these claims.

“It was completely crazy to me,” he said.

He isn’t the first Uber driver to encounter this problem.

After sharing his experience on Reddit, other drivers said that a common glitch was to blame, and that he’d be refunded.

In a separate Reddit thread, another Uber driver shared screenshots that showed they were charged $56.71 for driving a passenger, also in Chicago.

“It’s been going on for months now, and people post about it here almost weekly,” one Reddit user said.

Brianna Woodham, a former Uber driver in Atlanta, Georgia, told Insider that it had happened to her twice, and that she had stopped driving for the company as a result.

It happened once in early April, when Woodham was charged $49.54 for a ride, per screenshots seen by Insider. This was due to a surge fare being deducted, rather than added, to her account on the app. During another journey two weeks later, Woodham drove a passenger for 46 minutes – and earned nothing on it, screenshots shared with Insider showed.

Other users on Reddit said that on some occasions, they had only received their tip and not the full fare.

An Uber spokesperson told Insider that fares for certain trips booked through Uber Reserve, which lets riders book journeys up to 30 days in advance, were miscalculated “due to a software bug.”

“This was a terrible customer experience for drivers, and for that we apologize,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve ensured drivers have been paid in full for all affected trips, fixed the bug, and have put new safeguards in place.”

But both drivers Insider spoke to said that their glitched journeys had been booked through the standard UberX service, rather than Uber Reserve.

Drivers say they had problems contacting Uber for help

The Illinois driver said he called Uber’s driver support line from the help section of the app. But the line is only staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, according to the automated message drivers get when they call out-of-hours – meaning no one was there to answer the phone when the Illinois driver called.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to lose money on a trip and then have to wait two days to call support to have them fix it,” he said.

The spokesperson told Insider that all drivers have access to 24/7 support via in-app messaging, and that drivers who have completed 3,000 trips or are Uber Pro Gold, Diamond, or Platinum drivers have access to 24/7 phone support. Drivers at the blue level have access to phone support on weekdays, the spokesperson said.

The Illinois driver told Insider that he then turned to the Uber Twitter support account for help – and that after some back and forth, the Uber Twitter account stopped replying to his messages.

The driver sent Insider screenshots of the Twitter conversation that verified his claims.

The driver decided to tweet about his experience. The tweet went viral – and Uber finally paid attention. A rep contacted him and Uber paid him the original $36.67 estimated fare, he told Insider, plus an extra $25 that the representative said was “for the inconvenience.”

“It took the will of the internet to even get the issue addressed,” the driver said.

Woodham, meanwhile, said that she was refunded by Uber for the first journey around a week after it happened – but that she still hasn’t been paid for the second, glitched ride more than two months later.

She said that she had reached out to Uber multiple times, but never received a helpful response or refund. She didn’t think the issue would ever get resolved, she told Insider.

Drivers quit Uber as a result

Because of the lack of support he received from Uber, the Illinois driver said that he was worried he’d be in danger if a serious incident happened. Drivers were “sitting ducks,” he said, and referred to a recent incident in Cicero, Illinois, where a driver was shot and killed.

“If I have a serious issue, it just opens my eyes to the fact that unless it’s Monday through Friday business hours, we’re out there on our own, there’s not gonna be anybody there to reach out to, to address an issue,” he said.

He said that he had stopped driving for Uber and planned to turn to food delivery instead, and Woodham also said that she had stopped driving for Uber her the second glitched ride.

“It just made me rethink which gigs I do want to do,” the Illinois driver said. “I should never be charged to work by anybody.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

See the custom Tesla taxi hitting NYC in May as part the city’s first all-electric ride-hailing service

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Some customers will be able to order a ride starting in May.

  • Brooklyn startup Revel plans to launch an all-electric ride-hailing business in New York in May.
  • It’ll be served by a fleet of 50 blue Tesla Model Y SUVs to start.
  • The cars have extra legroom, a touchscreen in back, and room for up to five passengers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
An all-electric ride-hailing service is headed to New York with a fleet of custom Teslas.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Brooklyn startup Revel plans to unleash 50 bright blue Tesla Model Y compact SUVs onto downtown Manhattan streets in May.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Revel customized the cars with more than just a paint job.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

By removing the front passenger’s seat, Revel gave riders extra legroom and a place to put their bag.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

The driver is separated from passengers by a plastic barrier for COVID-19 safety.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

There’s a touchscreen in the back that riders can use to change the music or the climate controls.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

The screen also displays a map that shows the ride’s progress.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

And Revel added a power outlet and USB plugs to the passenger footwell.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Despite the missing seat, Revel’s taxis can still carry five passengers, since some of them will have a third row with room for two.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

They’ll also each come with a child’s seat in the trunk.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Revel chose the Model Y because it offered the best combination of range, price, and user experience, Frank Reig, the startup’s CEO, told Insider.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

But the most crucial factor was that the vehicle be able to travel at least 300 miles on a charge, Reig said. The Long Range Model Y has an EPA-estimated range of 326 miles.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

A benefit of owning a fleet of Teslas is that Revel can tap into the cars remotely to monitor each vehicle’s performance.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

When a taxi starts running low on battery, the company will begin routing trips toward a charging station, Reig said.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

On the flip side, the company may tell drivers they have enough juice left to extend their shift.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

The vehicles will charge overnight at Revel’s own Superhub fast-charging stations, which it says will start rolling out in June.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Reig said Revel will also give feedback to drivers about their top speed, acceleration, and braking to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Customers can sign up for Revel’s waitlist now, and the company says rides will be priced competitively with Uber and Lyft.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

The service will launch below 42nd Street, but Revel aims to expand to other neighborhoods in New York and to other markets over time.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

The company is sticking with Tesla Model Ys for now, but plans to expand its fleet and add some “exciting options” over the next year or so, Reig said.

Revel Tesla Model Y.
Revel Tesla Model Y.

Read the original article on Business Insider

An all-electric Uber competitor is coming to New York in May with a fleet of Tesla Model Ys

[EMBARGO 4/28 10:30AM ET DNP] Revel Model Y taxi
Revel is giving New Yorkers a zero-emission option for hailing a ride.

  • Brooklyn startup Revel is launching an electric ride-hailing service in May.
  • Users will be able to order a ride in Manhattan from Revel’s initial fleet of 50 Tesla Model Ys.
  • Revel will bring on drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new ride-hailing service is looking to take on Uber and Lyft in New York City with a fleet of electric vehicles.

Brooklyn startup Revel, known primarily for its app-based moped-sharing service, is expanding into the taxi business, the company announced on Wednesday. The service will launch with an initial fleet of 50 Tesla Model Y crossovers that users can order through the Revel app starting in late May. It’s also building an in-house charging network to power them.

Revel says getting into ride-hailing is the next logical step in its plan to expand zero-emission transportation options.

“Our mission has always been to electrify cities,” Frank Reig, Revel’s co-founder and CEO, told Insider. “As you think about a company that is trying to create an electric-vehicle ecosystem – electrify every single trip in a city, A to B – rideshare for us was really just a natural next step in that process.”

[EMBARGO 4/28 10:30AM ET DNP] Revel Model Y taxi
The taxis will be available below Manhattan’s 42nd Street to start.

The service will at first be limited to Manhattan below 42nd Street, but Revel expects it will grow much like the company’s original moped business, which has expanded from a small area of Brooklyn to six major markets since 2018.

In addition to being served exclusively by company-owned EVs, Revel’s ride-hailing platform sets itself apart in that it will be staffed by employees rather than independent contractors. Drivers will be entitled to guaranteed wages, paid time off, health insurance, and other benefits that self-employed drivers for rival services don’t get, but many have demanded for years.

[EMBARGO 4/28 10:30AM ET DNP] Revel Model Y taxi
Revel’s taxis have extra legroom due to a front-seat delete.

Managing its own fleet and bringing on professional drivers as employees should drive down costs by reducing driver turnover and liability risk, Reig says. Pricing will be competitive with other companies in the space, but Revel promises a slightly more premium experience.

Read more: Inside Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s 4-year quest to root out the toxic culture that nearly sank the world’s most valuable startup

Each of the Model Y taxis has the front seat removed for extra legroom and features a touchscreen for passengers to toggle climate controls and music.

The cars will hit streets as Revel works to get another project off the ground: A network of fast-charging stations for electric cars called Superhubs. By launching both businesses simultaneously, Revel COO and co-founder Paul Suhey told Insider, Revel’s taxis get a place to charge overnight and its first Superhubs get enough business to make them profitable to operate.

[EMBARGO 4/28 10:30AM ET DNP] Revel Model Y taxi
Revel’s first Superhub opens in June.

Revel’s first Superhub will open in Brooklyn in June and will eventually be the largest universal fast-charging station in North America, according to the company. Revel also announced a $99-per-month e-bike leasing service in February.

Ride-hailing customers will need to join a waitlist due to limited availability to start. Over the next year, Revel plans to expand its fleet and add additional electric models to meet rider demand.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber gave drivers more control to prove they’re independent. Now the company is taking back control because drivers actually used it.

GettyImages 1176816141 (1) NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, UBER, speaks onstage during the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

  • Uber is revoking California drivers’ ability to set prices and see trip destinations in advance, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
  • Uber gave drivers more control in 2020 to avoid reclassifying drivers as employees under AB-5.
  • But it reversed course after Prop 22 exempted it from AB-5, saying drivers turned down too many rides.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In late 2019, California lawmakers passed AB-5, hoping to make it harder for companies like Uber to skirt labor laws and offload healthcare and unemployment insurance costs to taxpayers by misclassifying workers as contractors.

But Uber refused to comply, arguing that AB-5 didn’t apply to its drivers because they aren’t core to its business and that drivers really are independent because they’re “free from the control and direction” of Uber.

In an attempt to prove its independence argument, in January 2020, Uber gave California drivers more control by allowing them to set their own prices for rides and see passengers’ destinations before picking them up.

Regulators and courts didn’t buy it. But fortunately for Uber, a $200 million PR campaign around Proposition 22 successfully persuaded California voters to exempt it from AB-5, saving the company as much as $500 million per year, according to a 2019 estimate by Barclays analysts.

Now that Uber no longer needs to convince California authorities that its drivers are independent, the company plans to reclaim control, revoking the price-setting and passenger destination features it gave drivers barely a year ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

Uber’s reason for the reversal?

Too many drivers took advantage of the control Uber gave them, picking the most profitable rides while declining others, making it harder for customers to get rides and hurting Uber’s business, the company said. According to the Chronicle, one-third of drivers turned down 80% of rides.

Industry observers said the move is hardly surprising but it undermines Uber’s claim that the changes were ever about anything more than dodging regulation.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

“It really shouldn’t be a shock to anyone,” Harry Campbell, who runs The Rideshare Guy, a popular blog among drivers, told Insider. “Since they passed Prop 22… there’s nothing holding them accountable for these changes.”

Campbell said that drivers likely won’t be happy given the popularity of the price-setting and passenger destination features, but added, “It’s kind of, unfortunately, a bit of a pattern that Uber specifically often gives drivers some things that they want and then ends up taking them away.”

“Is there a single Prop 22 promise that Uber hasn’t broken?’ Gig Workers Rising, which advocates on behalf of ride-hailing and food delivery drivers, tweeted in response to the Chronicle’s reporting, alluding to Uber’s history of misleading claims during its Prop 22 campaign.

But by revoking some driver-friendly features, Uber – which has yet to turn a profit – also revealed some of its post-pandemic priorities.

Companies like Uber and Lyft rely on flooding the market with drivers, who then face pressure to accept lower-paying rides and risk another driver getting the job or getting penalized themselves for turning down too many rides, even if those rides are unprofitable.

But during the pandemic, there has been a massive shortage of Uber and Lyft drivers, due to a drop in demand for rides and a concern among drivers about getting sick (the companies don’t provide healthcare or sick pay). And even as rider demand returns, many drivers are still staying home.

With fewer drivers on the road and Uber drivers able to freely reject unprofitable rides, they’re driving up their wages. That means higher prices and longer wait times for passengers, which Uber isn’t happy about.

“The companies, strangely, they care more about reliability than profitability at this moment in time,” Campbell said. “They want to make sure that the platform is working like everyone expects and if drivers are ignoring 80% of requests, that means that it literally is going to take longer for you to get matched with a driver.”

Campbell said Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other platforms are offering huge incentives to drivers – like a $250 bonus for completing 20 rides – as they struggle to get them back on the road.

As with past promises, those incentives and other driver-friendly features could just as easily disappear if the market becomes saturated with drivers again and companies regain the upper hand, but Campbell said that there needs to be a middle ground.

“If Uber is going to be able to get away with paying drivers like independent contractors, I think that’s kind of some of the control that they have to give up and find a way to make work.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

China’s Didi Chuxing is eyeing a mega-IPO next quarter that values the ride-hailing service above $62 billion, report says

Didi Chuxing's D1 at the launch event in Beijing on November 16, 2020
Didi Chuxing’s D1 at the launch event in Beijing on November 16, 2020.

  • China’s Didi Chuxing is speeding up plans for its market debut and targeting a valuation above $62 billion.
  • The ride-hailing firm is targeting the summer of 2021 for its IPO, rather than the latter part of the year, Bloomberg said.
  • Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is Didi’s single largest existing investor.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing is said to be speeding up plans for its initial public offering to make the most of the post-pandemic environment, according to Bloomberg.

Didi is aiming for an IPO as early as this summer, at a valuation above the $62 billion it secured at its last funding round, making it one of China’s most valuable tech firms, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

The company brought forward its IPO plans by a quarter, owing to China’s lead in controlling the COVID-19 crisis. It was previously targeting late 2021. But plans are in early stages, timing is still uncertain, and a venue for its market debut hasn’t been decided yet.

If Didi lists its shares in Hong Kong, the company could raise about $9 billion, potentially making its IPO one of the largest tech debuts of 2021, Bloomberg said.

Japan’s SoftBank, the biggest investor in China’s ride-hailing leader, would count Didi’s IPO as another victory, after profiting from a number of other high-value market debuts including Coupang and DoorDash.

The company is also said to be expanding its business by pushing into European markets. Bloomberg reported last month it could roll out its ride-hailing service in the UK, France, and Germany by the first half of 2021.

Didi didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider