A new report by expense management system provider Certify shows that 47 percent of the ground transportation rides by its users in March were through Uber. That’s more than tripled from the 14 percent of rides that Uber had just over a year ago in January 2014. In a few cities, Uber now tops taxi rides for business travelers.
There was word earlier this year that Google was looking to compete with Uber, and now it turns out the opposite may be true as well. Google has been working on self-driving cars for years, and the rumor was that the search company is looking at starting a driverless taxi service; but what if Uber wants to remove the drivers from its own service? Uber has posted a number of job listings at its Advanced Technologies Center that seem to indicate as much, PC World points out.
Some Columbus taxi drivers are purchasing licenses that allow them to work for Uber as well. The app-based car services Uber and Lyft entered the Columbus market about a year ago and met heavy resistance from the taxi industry. Since then, the city has adopted new rules to regulate the industry, and Lyft put its local operations on pause because of the new law. Taxi drivers aren’t necessarily giving up their cabs, said Thom Ibinson, administrator in the Columbus license office.
App-based car services Uber and Lyft have will be serving the Indianapolis International Airport when thousands of travelers land this week for the NCAA Final Four. The airport reached an agreement with the ride-sharing companies that will generate $2.50 per pickup for the airport, a deal tourism officials hailed as a welcome convenience for travelers.
The biggest hotel chain in the world owns not a single hotel. A ‘transportation company’ worth $40bn – more than Delta airlines – has no vehicles. And a multinational ‘cleaning company’ operating in 32 cities, including London, buys no cleaning supplies and does not employ a single cleaner. Airbnb, Uber and Homejoy are middlemen of the newest new economy, connecting customers with workers via the ‘frictionless interface’ of the mobile internet, and taking a commission along the way. Airbnb – so called because it conjures up images of an airbed, inflated by a considerate friend – generates annual revenues of $300m in New York City alone.
Lyft claims not to be a car service. It wants to be “your friend with a car.” The “rules of the road” it gives drivers are really more like pleasant suggestions. Uber doesn’t see itself as a transportation company, but a “technology company,” almost like a video game that lets you control people in real life. Uber’s drivers aren’t employees; they’re called “partners.” Welcome to the neo-Orwellianism of Silicon Valley, where doublespeak flourishes. It issues not from a propagandistic state but from companies that have brilliantly parlayed the novelty of their business models into hall passes shielding them from much of the regulation and scrutiny visited on other companies.
Today, many insurance policies do not cover the sharing economy. Hypothetically, if employees were on a business trip and suffered bodily harm in an Uber, they could potentially sue the employer for failing to ensure their safety. Most employees are completely unaware of how complicated, stressful and restrictive this issue can be for a travel manager.
Lyft, like its headline-grabbing rival Uber, is a ride-sharing service. These two companies seem to do the same thing: They let you summon a car and driver with a tap in an app, with all the billing handled behind the scenes, so you don’t have to fumble for cash or card at the end of the ride. Uber began life employing only professional chauffeurs — black-car drivers. But Lyft started out employing ordinary folks in their own family cars, an idea that Uber soon imitated with its UberX service.
Uber is taking steps to improve passenger safety following allegations of rape against a driver in India and mounting concerns about background checks. Phil Cardenas, head of safety, said the company was implementing a new global code of conduct and setting up “incident response teams” worldwide to reassure riders in the wake of several high-profile incidents.
As On the Move Systems, Inc. (OTCBB: OMVS) continues to develop its on-demand freight platform for local customized freight carriers, the popularity of the “sharing economy” business model upon which the platform is based is exploding. San Francisco’s Uber, the similar on-demand transportation network available through a mobile app, is now more popular among frequent business travelers than taxis.