Uber and Postmates Rush to Block California Freelancer Law

· Andrew Orr · Link

Assembly Bill 5, known as the California Freelancer Law, goes into effect January 1, 2020. The law says that workers must be classified as employees instead of contractors, under certain conditions. Companies like Uber and Postmates are rushing to block the law.

As employees, drivers would be protected by minimum wage and overtime rules and would be eligible for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. The companies would have to pay half of their payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security.

Postmates said it was seeking to delay the law from taking effect to gain time to figure out a compromise so that its workers would not be classified as full-time employees.

Drivers aren’t the only people affected. Freelance journalists in California are being laid off because the law says they can only maintain their status as independent contractors if they submit no more than 35 pieces per year.

Uber's London License Has Not Been Renewed

· Charlotte Henry · News

Uber’s license to operate in London has not renewed, with the ride-hailing app branded ‘not fit and proper’ by the city’s transport authority.

5 Phone Car Mounts for Uber and Lyft Drivers

· Andrew Orr · Quick Tip

It’s pretty common for Uber and Lyft drivers to use phone car mounts. We’ve found five of them for you to check out.

California Governor Signs AB5 Bill Into Law Protecting Gig Workers

· Andrew Orr · Link

AB5 is a bill that could one day give full employee status to gig workers from companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash. Today, California’s governor signed it into law.

While a major victory for the organized labor movement in California and in the U.S. broadly, the passing of AB5 is by no means a guarantee drivers in the state will become employees. Drivers or individual cities will need to challenge these businesses in court to apply the aforementioned ABC test, and Uber has already adopted an offensive posture in that regard, claiming that drivers are not core to the company’s business model—one of the stipulations of the ABC test.

Drivers in a ride-sharing company are not core to Uber’s business model. Wow.

Uber Comfort Adds Leg Room, Quiet Drivers

· Andrew Orr · Link

A new Uber Comfort tier lets you ask your drive for silence, and uses cars that have more leg room, climate control, and more.

The move allows Uber to charge more for slightly better vehicles and higher-rated drivers that used to be lumped in with its budget UberX tier. This also lets Uber compensate drivers better if they’re willing to forgo the small talk or crank the air conditioning. “Uber Comfort should result in fares for drivers that are at least 20% higher than UberX (not including surge or promotions) for a trip with the same time and distance” an Uber spokesperson tells me.

Uber Eats Adds Apple Pay

· Andrew Orr · News

Uber Eats is adding Apple Pay as a payment option in almost 20 markets, so it’s now easy to pay via Touch ID/Face ID.

Uber Rewards Comes to All U.S. Cities

· Andrew Orr · News

Uber Rewards is a loyalty program for frequent riders. It launched in nine cities in November 2018 and now it is available across the U.S.

02 Suffers Major Network Outage

· Charlotte Henry · News

02 logo

The 02 cellular network suffered a major UK outage on Thursday, thought to be down to a software issue from third-party provider Ericsson.

The Facebook Dance, Autonomous Cars, and our AI Future - ACM 454

· Bryan Chaffin & Jeff Gamet · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Podcast Logo

Bryan and Jeff discuss the ongoing #deletefacebook discussion and whether it’s a tempest in a teapot. They also talk about autonomous vehicles, regulation, and our future with driverless cars, and also our future with artificial intelligence.

Fatal Crash Leads Uber to Halt Autonomous Car Tests

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Uber Autonomous Vehicle

Uber suspended its autonomous vehicle test program in the U.S. Monday after a woman was struck and killed by one of the company’s test vehicles in Tempe, AZ.

What's Really Going on with Uber in London

· Charlotte Henry · Analysis

The Uber App on an iPhone

Uber has become a core part of London’s busy transport system. So why are some people trying to ban it from the capital?

Silicon Valley Company Towns and Going Deep on Tim Cook's Plans for Apple Car - ACM 414

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have made a major donation to a group helping teachers buy homes near Facebook’s headquarters. Bryan and Jeff think Silicon Valley may need to think even bigger and build some company towns. They also dive deep into Tim Cook’s Apple Car plans, including his three vectors of autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and ride sharing services.

You Can Now Delete Uber Account Data Straight From The App

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Today Uber announced the introduction of a Privacy Settings in its app. This lets you delete Uber account data and give you more control over app notifications and contacts that the app has access to. You can also control location data within the app. Andrew Orr tells us the details.