Rideshare And Delivery News Recap: DoorDash Layoffs, Denver Driver Strike, And More 

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What happens in the world of rideshare and delivery hits home with every driver. To satisfy your need to know, we’ve curated newsworthy items and insight into the industry’s big picture.

Doordash layoffs

Should Dashers worry about the recent job slashing that went down at DoorDash? Probably not. Most sources say the elimination of 1,200 or so corporate jobs was done to correct the “over-hiring” that took place during the pandemic. 

Dashers and other delivery drivers don’t have a lot to worry about here. Business is as brisk as ever in food delivery, as evidenced in this Gridwise blog post. Cutting down on corporate staff was just a way for DoorDash to improve their bottom line. It’s no surprise that, according to CNBC, DoorDash stock closed up 9.2% on the day the layoffs were announced.

Any improvement in the company’s bottom line is likely to benefit drivers. The downside might show up as less responsive Dasher service or fewer and less improvements in the app itself. Dashers will have to wait and see.

Suspended by Uber or Lyft? There’s some hope for help

Deactivation isn’t funny. This Gridwise post details how your company might take its sweet time to hear your side of the story, and how you may never find out who complained about you or what you supposedly did. It happens more often than it probably should.

The City of Portland has strived to come to the aid of drivers. By instituting an official TNC Drivers Advocacy Committee to assist drivers who have been unjustly deactivated, the city thought they could advocate for drivers and get them reinstated.

However, even the weight of a city government agency doesn’t seem to convince Uber or Lyft that it would be reasonable to disclose information about complaints and the identities of those who initiate them. The companies label this “proprietary information.”

The City of Portland even drafted a policy that would require the rideshare company to divulge this information, but it has yet to successfully clear the substantial amount of red tape involved. You can read more about the status of the program in this article.

Some drivers who have enough funding might think they have the option of suing for lost income, but the agreement drivers sign with the companies doesn’t permit them to file lawsuits against the company. 

One driver has managed to use the Advocacy Committee to bargain for arbitration with a settlement in view. She may get that, but she won’t be reinstated through this action. Worse yet, there will be no change in the law. Only court battles can have that effect. The City of Portland has made a gallant and laudable effort, but Uber and Lyft have a way to go before they can say their deactivation policies are “fair.”

How rideshare is transforming cities

Have you noticed the changes in your city since rideshare became a common way for folks to get around? A group of engineering researchers at Carnegie Mellon University surely have. In a recently published study summarized by Business Wire, the researchers made some interesting observations about how rideshare companies (aka TNCs) have reshaped the nature of many cities, and how these changes might affect public policy.

While the study is quick to point out the positive aspects of the rideshare industry, including economic growth, employment, and wages for intermittent jobs, they found many unwanted side effects due to the growth of rideshare in cities, namely

  • TNCs do not decrease car ownership.
  • TNC use displaces public transit in high income areas and cities where there are many children.
  • The use of rideshare can reduce pollutants but clog the streets.
  • HIgh income areas benefit more from rideshare as a way to avoid inclement weather  than do other sectors of a given city.

And, in terms of making changes through further regulations on TNCs, the study concluded that it is possible to pressure TNCs to use EVs in their fleets by imposing additional costs on vehicles that are not electric.

What does all this mean for drivers? It seems to indicate that parties are interested in curtailing the growth of TNCs in general. But for now, the continuously growing gig driving economy isn’t going to change very much.

About that rideshare driver strike at the Denver airport

Horns were blaring and the rideshare and delivery apps were turned off while Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash drivers protested at the Denver airport on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Colorado Independent Drivers United (CIDU) organized the demonstration, which was held for a total of four hours on this insanely busy travel day.

According to this article from Colorado Public Radio, the drivers’ demands were founded on the assertion that the TNCs help themselves to around 50% of the cost of a ride or delivery. At the demonstration, they demanded that:

  • companies limit their take rate to 25%
  • companies add a $2 gas surcharge per ride to cover the astronomical rise in fuel prices
  • companies end unfair and unexpected driver deactivations
  • the state government of Colorado enforce the TNC Act of 2014, which imposes safety and fairness regulations on companies such as Uber and Lyft

Uber sent out a message to all active drivers warning them that the demonstration violated airport regulations, and that their privilege to operate at the Denver airport could be permanently revoked if they continued to violate those rules. Uber also presented figures to the media showing that their average take rate is more like 19%.

Lyft issued a statement reflecting their concern for the welfare of their drivers. They cited company-sponsored perks programs to help cover gasoline costs and the Lyft driver council, where concerns of this nature can be aired.

Each side has a different story of what happened that day, and what should happen in the future. While the CIDU stated they had the full participation of local drivers, Uber reported that there was no impact on service at the Denver airport during the demonstration. 

Obviously, in the battle between driver organizations and the TNCs, the power of the government hasn’t succeeded in pushing the TNCs with any great force. Drivers who spoke up at the Denver airport made a noble effort to be heard, and it’s easy to see that their hearts are in the right place. 

Uber and Lyft will do all they can to keep the rideshare business thriving. Both parties have points and intentions that are good for drivers. It’s up to each individual to decide which side has the most credibility and is the most viable option for earning money—and to decide if and when it’s time to engage in this particular debate.  

You might want to read this Gridwise post to get more information about the issues involved in the relationship between TNCs and the drivers that keep them moving.

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