Photo via Cargo
A new start-up wants to convert your Uber or Lyft car into a 7-Eleven on wheels while benefitting drivers in the process. The company, called Cargo, sends drivers a box packed with snacks and amenities, like Pringles, earbuds and Advil to sell to riders. While some goodies are free, others like an iPhone charging cord will cost a few bucks, but passengers can easily pay on their phones, according to Forbes. Each time a passenger uses Cargo, even if it’s just for the free samples, drivers can earn money. According to the company, drivers can earn up to $300 per month, with most earning about $100 every month.
Snack on this
Traffic in NYC, photo via joiseyshowaa on Flickr
As New York City’s failure-prone subway system continues to disappoint, some commuters are turning to ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft to reach their destinations instead. While getting picked up by a car is easy, especially in the busiest areas of Manhattan, the bumper-to-bumper traffic makes getting anywhere actually more difficult. A report released by Bruce Schaller, a former deputy city transportation commissioner, found that one-third of ride-hailing cars and yellow cabs are often driving on the city’s most congested blocks without any passengers, creating unnecessary traffic (h/t New York Times). As a way to reduce car congestion, officials are considering a new fee on for-hire vehicles, possibly a way to raise money for the strapped-for-cash MTA.
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A recently-released rendering of what Uber’s flying taxi, to begin testing in 2020, might look like. (Credit: Uber Technologies via AM New York).
6sqft reported recently on testing of the CityAirbus self-piloted flying taxi by Airbus. There’s already competition ahead, it seems: Uber reported Wednesday that the company is joining the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in the development of software for managing flying taxi routes–essentially “flying Ubers.” In what represents the first formal services contract by NASA dealing with low-altitude airspace, Uber plans to begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200-miles-per-hour flying taxi services in Dallas/Fort Worth, with more testing planned for Los Angeles in 2020 in advance of the 2028 Olympics.
So when can I call one?
Image of Uber’s self-driving vehicle via Nathan Ingraham for Engadget
On top of plans to roll out flying taxis in NYC within five years, ride-hailing company Uber, in addition to many similar companies, hopes to make driverless cars next on their list of proposals. As reported by Crain’s, shared driverless vehicles could account for a quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. by 2030. Since the cars would be shared, driverless and electric, the low-cost would allow many people to give up their personal cars, especially in densely populated cities. New Yorkers own fewer vehicles than residents in any other U.S. city, making it the biggest market for ride-hail services as well as the perfect guinea pig for companies to test driverless vehicles.
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The sky is the limit for the popular ride-hailing app, Uber. The company announced Tuesday that it intends to roll out a network of flying cars, or VTOLs (aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing) beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020. And as reported by the NY Post, one of Uber’s partners, Blade helicopter service, aims to make New York City a target for its plan within five years. If so, these vehicles, which travel at 200 mph, could take passengers from Manhattan to JFK Airport in as little as five minutes.
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After raising an additional $1 billion in a financing round that began last summer, Airbnb, the short-term stay rental company, is now listed as the second most valuable private company in the United States, following Uber, the ride-hailing business, as the New York Times reported. Airbnb, based in San Francisco, has raised more than $3 billion and secured a $1 billion line of credit since the company was founded in 2008. It is now worth nearly $31 billion dollars.
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Image by Grant Wickens via flick CC
As far back as 2015, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority was considering fees for vehicles pulling up curbside to drop off or pick up passengers at New York City’s airports as a way to reduce the congestion that has worsened since services like Uber and Lyft have arrived. The city’s airports are among the only ones in the U.S. that don’t charge curbside access fees. Now the Daily News has obtained a Port Authority draft proposal outlining the proposed fees. Taxi and hired car passengers could be hit with a $4 charge for each trip in and out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports as early as next year. The fee would be charged to the car operators and would presumably be passed to passengers
The idea is not getting a warm reception
6sqft recently shared analysis that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles could replace the city’s fleet of 13,587 taxis. And while this was more a comment on how carpooling can decrease congestion and emissions, it also points to a changing landscape for yellow cabs. In a piece this weekend, the Times looks at how taxis have fallen out of favor with New Yorkers since apps like Uber and Lyft came onto the scene; these vehicles now number more than 60,000. In 2010, for example, yellow cabs made an average of 463,701 trips, 27 percent more than the 336,737 trips this past November, which also resulted in a drop in fares from $5.17 million to $4.98 million. And just since 2014, the cost of a cab medallion was cut in less than half of its former $1.3 million price tag.
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If the city is looking to cut down on emissions and reduce traffic, here is some food for thought courtesy of folks over at MIT. Researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have determined that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles have the potential to do the same amount of work as NYC’s fleet of roughly 14,000 taxis—that is if New Yorkers are willing to use rideshare carpooling like Lyft Line and Uber POOL.
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Is the rise of car share services like Uber and Lyft making taxi drivers nicer? The Washington Post reports that according to research presented this week by the Technology Policy Institute’s Scott Wallsten, complaints are down in New York and Chicago, including those about general rudeness, busted A/C, and that bit about the credit card machine not working. The drop in complaints corresponds with the rise of availability of Uber and Lyft in those cities, they claim.
What are New Yorkers complaining about less