There’s a lot happening all over the planet, and the world of rideshare is rather busy, too. In this post, Gridwise has gathered the latest news about Uber drivers, Lyft news, and announcements from Doordash, so you can find it all in one place.
Uber and Lyft strike in Pittsburgh
Concerns about rideshare companies’ take rate and driver safety aren’t anything new, but Pittsburgh drivers made Uber and Lyft news when they held a demonstration and work stoppage. It was especially noticeable because it took place during a busy weekend encompassing Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl.
Drivers don’t like the new upfront pricing policies both companies put into place in 2022. They claim passengers are shown the full cost of the ride before accepting it, while drivers only get to see how much they might earn from it. This new policy, they say, doesn’t allow drivers to see the full price. Allegedly, when drivers asked passengers how much they were paying, it appeared the companies were taking as much as 30–70% of the customers’ fares.
The companies, however, have a different perspective. They say their take is more like 20%, and that the average Uber driver made $34 per active hour, and Lyft drivers earned around $35 per engaged hour in the Pittsburgh area during the final quarter of 2022. In any event, the striking drivers want the companies to return to full disclosure of customer fares, so they can be sure the companies aren’t taking more than what they deem to be a fair share.
Safety was the other issue the strikers are eager to talk about. Now that two drivers have been killed in the Pittsburgh area over the past few years, protesters made it clear their grievances involve more than just a Lyft or Uber pay raise. Drivers’ demands include requiring Uber and Lyft passengers to register with a name that matches their state ID, and companies being more vigilant about customer background checks.
Spokespersons for both Uber and Lyft emphasized their focus on driver safety, and cited customer audits, stronger restrictions regarding IDs, and investments in new technology as some of the measures they have taken and will be taking in order to increase driver safety. You can read more about how to stay safe while driving in this Gridwise post.
The strike briefly removed the 100 drivers who participated from the pool of available rides on that busy weekend, and drew attention to issues that concern drivers everywhere.
UPS layoffs sting drivers as 5-year contract winds down
UPS, which was among the first big delivery companies to use part-time drivers, has been laying off “hybrid” workers—those who split their hours between delivery duties and warehouse work. This comes as a 5-year contract is about to be renegotiated with the Teamsters Union, which represents the drivers.
As of yet, the union has not acknowledged that the layoffs are taking place. UPS says that the layoffs are merely a part of seasonal adjustments. With the new contract coming up, it is difficult to see how this move is not an initial negotiation ploy on the part of UPS. It, not unlike its competitors such as FedEx and Amazon, is looking at declining revenues and rising costs.
It remains to be seen how strong the Teamsters Union, which is also faced with increased costs and declining assets, will be able to push back in the upcoming contract negotiations. Workers hope to at least be able to hold onto their jobs, and possibly gain more earnings.
New safety features for DoorDash drivers could make Dashing less stressful
With a slew of messages coming in through the app at all times, delivery driving can be distracting, as many Dashers will attest. But this latest DoorDash news could make them feel much safer. The delivery industry leader has added new safety features that will reduce the number of notifications Dashers receive while driving.
Some key notifications, such as a change in the delivery address, or reassignment of orders that time out during a trip, will still come through, as will come customer messages. However, customers waiting for their food will be notified that their Dasher may not be able to respond to their request while driving, and the response to any message might be delayed.
DoorDash is also beginning to roll out a one-touch response system, whereby a Dasher could send quick messages such as “still waiting for your order to be prepared,” or “on my way now,” with one click. This way, passengers can stay informed and still allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
Further improvements to the DoorDash app will allow the driver to decline an order with one tap, or simply allow the request to time out. And, for new DoorDash drivers, there’s a feature that allows them to rehearse an actual delivery, by taking an order to their own abode, before going out to do the Dasher thing for real.
DoorDash, like many other companies, already has measures in place for drivers to get emergency help with one button. The DoorDash app uses reps from ADT, who can discreetly call for police or other personnel when a driver is in an unsafe spot. The next layer of safety, driver behavior, is covered through a partnership DoorDash has with an app that measures driving stats such as speed, brake usage, and distance traveled.
Customers want their food and groceries delivered fast, but DoorDash seems to recognize how important it is that delivery drivers stay safe while they go about their delivery duties.
DoorDash and Uber Eats can now charge SF restaurants more for delivery
In another win for delivery companies in their battle with government regulators are the developments that stand out as some of the most interesting DoorDash and Uber news today. Back in 2021, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a bill that put a 15% limit on the commission food delivery apps could charge restaurants. Companies viewed this as being utterly unreasonable.
A month after the law went into effect, delivery companies sued the City and County of San Francisco on the grounds that the commission cap could harm customers, and that laws of this nature violated both state and federal constitutional provisions. Faced with this litigation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reversed course in July 2022, putting an end to the commission cap as of January 31, 2023.
Now restaurants in the area are subject to higher commissions, but charges won’t go up across the board. Both DoorDash and Uber Eats have instituted tiered pricing systems, adjusting rates according to how large an area the restaurant seeks to serve, and whether the restaurant wants to gain access to the delivery companies’ subscription customers. The tiers are 15%, 25%, and 30%, based on those factors.
This change in the way commissions are collected in San Francisco may or may not result in a DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber pay raise, but it does give the companies a better chance of making profits. That means there will still be companies providing opportunities to gig drivers, which is always a good thing.
DoorDash’s new effort to support Dashers is a “gas”
Gas prices have been causing way too much worry over the last several months, and DoorDash recognizes the need to come to the assistance of its drivers. Dashers can benefit from the company’s partnership with GasBuddy, which shows them the nearest place to find gas at the lowest price.
At a time when drivers struggle to avoid having the cost of fuel eat up a large chunk of earnings, this is a gesture Dashers can appreciate. DoorDash benefits because when their drivers stay loyal to them, they can provide consistent and comprehensive services to the restaurants and customers who rely on them.
If you don’t drive for DoorDash and you’re experiencing lower gas price envy, don’t get too jealous. There’s some great news for Lyft, Grubhub, Instacart, Shipt, Amazon Flex, and Uber drivers! When you drive with Gridwise, you get Gridwise Gas, which is a special partnership with GasBuddy, just like Dashers get.
With Gridwise Gas, though, you have the additional option of subscribing to Gridwise Plus and getting guaranteed savings of 50 cents off each gallon for your first 100 gallons every month! For just $9.99 per month, your Gridwise Plus membership will pay you back in gas savings to the tune of $50 a month.
No matter what companies you drive for, when you join the Gridwise community, you get great features, deals, and discounts, each and every day.