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This Week in Rideshare: Austin, Gas and Audio – Legal Reader

Austin riders face high prices, gas prices squeeze drivers and Uber adds new safety features. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Delivery dilemmas, pain at the pump, and a workaround for higher fares. It’s all here in This Week in Rideshare.
MONDAY 11/29/21
Walmart is looking to gig workers to fulfill orders. PYMNTS reported:

The recent switch to more digital, quick forms of eCommerce has seen the popular retailer moving items from stores to homes directly, utilizing workers from food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash to get those deliveries done.
But that also comes as people are getting surprise visits from drivers who have come to deliver small single items that people didn’t expect — they were intended to be parts of larger orders. In other cases, there have been Christmas presents for children delivered at unexpected times. And sometimes the packaging has been unusual, creating further confusion — some contain the wrong items altogether.

TUESDAY 11/30/21
If you’re looking for an Uber in Austin, chances are the price is pretty substantial. Axios reported:

Feeling like the prices of your Austin Uber rides have been extraordinarily high?
You’re not imagining things: Rides this fall on Lyft and Uber cost about a third higher than they were pre-pandemic.
The big picture: It’s not just Austin, but data shows prices are slightly elevated in Central Texas compared to other areas. Much of the country is experiencing this mismatched equation of supply and demand for ride-hailing services.

WEDNESDAY 12/01/21

Image by Marcelo Leal, via to use Uber / Lyft but want to avoid high fares. WCVB has some suggestions:

How can you fight back? We have a few tips.
Price compare: If you only have one app, consider downloading a couple more to compare price. When you’re ordering a ride, plug in your destination and check out the estimate. Then open another app and do the same. Sometimes there’s quite a difference.
Split the fare: Lyft and Uber allow you to split the fare right there in the app.
Avoid the surge: Apps will increase prices during popular times, days and areas. If you can grab a ride an hour before or hour after, try. Apps can also increase prices when you’re in a popular location and a lot of people want a ride. Experts say, walk a couple blocks away from the populated area and the price may go down for you.
Wait: Apps will give you the option to wait a couple minutes and save money. You can save just by choosing to be picked up within 10 minutes rather than 2 minutes.

THURSDAY 12/2/21
High gas prices may mean fewer drivers. Jalopnik reported:

Drivers for ride-hailing and delivery apps and analysts covering the sector say that on top of changes in payment algorithms, the 59 per cent rise in the cost of petrol over the past 12 months has sent chills through the industry.
Uber and Lyft, the two biggest ride-hailing apps, are trying to ease the burden by encouraging a switch to electric vehicles, but many drivers are frustrated.
“Some drivers have been decreasing the amount of hours that they do. Some drivers have gone looking for other jobs,” said Beth Griffith, a former Uber and Lyft driver who heads the Boston Independent Drivers Guild.

FRIDAY 12/3/21

Can you hear me now? Uber adds audio recording to its list of newest safety features. TechCrunch reported:

The audio recording feature, which has been live in Latin America for around two years, will begin rolling out in the U.S. next week as a pilot in Kansas City, Louisville and Raleigh-Durham. Drivers and riders can choose to record audio by tapping the shield icon on the map screen and selecting “Record Audio.” If a driver has opted into the feature, riders will get a notification within the app before the trip begins.
The audio files are encrypted and stored on the rider’s or driver’s device, and no one, including Uber, can listen to the recording, according to the company. If a user submits a safety report to Uber, they can attach the audio file to their report and a trained Uber safety agent will decrypt and review the recording as evidence to help determine what happened and what to do next.

LegalReader thanks our friends at LegalRideshare for permission to publish this piece. The original is found here.

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