California Governor Signs AB5 Bill Into Law Protecting Gig Workers

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

Uber's Bad News Now Includes a Ride that Ended in a Fireball

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Uber has been delivering punishing, but self-inflicted wounds for weeks now. This week, the company can add the bad PR of a ride that ended in a fireball. A literal fireball. Firstly, the Uber driver in the car shown below—and his passenger—walked away with minor injuries. Secondly, the driver of a car hit moments before—and not shown in this video—did receive more serious injuries, according to local TV station KOMONews. The video below was captured by surveillance cameras when the Uber driver came speeding through a Seattle gas station, striking a gas pump and causing a fireball. On a side note, how amazing is gas station technology that the whole place didn’t go up in flames? Uber wanted folks to know this particular driver has been removed from its app. So there’s that.