For years, city and state governments around the country have been fighting over “sharing economy” issues. What’s changing is those fights are making more sense. These are no longer so often fights between companies that think they’re entitled to be unregulated and governments that want to ban businesses they find new and suspicious. Companies and lawmakers have learned to speak the same language, have climbed down from extreme positions, and are doing better at finding compromises that harness the benefits of business innovation while limiting unintended costs imposed on communities.
As expected, New York City Council has approved a one-year cap on ride-hailing services like Uber, along with a minimum wage for their drivers. According to some studies, the number of vehicles available for transport was increasing traffic congestion and putting drivers in unsustainable situations. The problem, obviously, is to what extent a one-year cap on licenses will help. Uber and Lyft can survive restrictions of this type even if they are applied in other US cities, but the real issue here is not in the number of vehicles available, but that in a year, when the cap is lifted, New York will still be gridlocked.
One of the biggest public transit networks in the country will take the bold step of allowing riders to plan a trip with a car-share, a bike-share or other mobility providers, all within its own system. L.A. Metro in Los Angeles is putting the finishing touches on upgrades to its Transit Access Pass — known to riders as simply the TAP card – to allow the agency to build relationships with third-party private mobility providers like Uber, Lyft, Lime and others.
Considered one of the top architectural marvels of all time, the Great Wall of China draws millions of travelers to its fabled stones every year. Earlier in August, home rental website Airbnb launched a new contest called “Night at the Great Wall,” in which four people and their guests would have got the chance to sleep in a custom-designed “home” set in one of the UNESCO-listed structure’s towers. Judging by the photos of the set-up provided by Airbnb, the once-in-a-lifetime experience would have been quite spectacular — but not everyone thought it was a good idea. Airbnb received mixed feedback on the concept — amidst concerns that the competition could cause damage to the famous wall.
New York became the first major American city on Wednesday to halt new vehicle licenses for ride-hail services, dealing a significant setback to Uber in its largest market in the United States. The legislation passed overwhelmingly by the City Council will cap the number of for-hire vehicles for a year while the city studies the booming industry. The bills also allow New York to set a minimum pay rate for drivers. Uber has become one of Silicon Valley’s biggest success stories and changed the way people across the globe get around. But it has faced increased scrutiny from government regulators and struggled to overcome its image as a company determined to grow at all costs with little regard for its impact on cities.
The MERGE Greenwich consortium has recently completed a year-long research project into the commercial viability of autonomous vehicle ride-sharing services. It also looked at whether these services help to make cities greener, more efficient and more accessible.
HyreCar continues to make inroads into established segments of the automotive industry. The start-up designed to create a carsharing marketplace for ridesharing and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) have entered into a strategic partnership, through its alliance with DriveItAway, a current NIADA National Member Benefits partner. HyreCar’s aim is to meet what it calls an “overwhelming” dealer demand to enter the mobility as a service (MaaS) industry throughout the U.S. by serving the NIADA’s 17,000 dealership members.
In a few short years, ‘the sharing economy’ has redefined our world. On any given day, we may summon an Uber, browse holiday homes on Airbnb, or book an odd job through TaskRabbit. But while the sharing economy rose to ascendance on the revolutionary promise of ‘peer-to-peer’ connections, all of these interactions are in fact mediated and monetised. And its the platforms – rather than the people – that have emerged as the true winners, playing the role of middlemen and charging rent to the tune of billions. Now though, a new breed of platform is emerging, made possible by blockchain technology: decentralised platforms that support ‘true’ peer-to-peer connections without the mediation of a centralised power.
Ride-hailing services encourage people to give up their cars, unless they happen to be driving for said services. Now, even ride-hailing drivers may not need to own their own cars, thanks to a partnership between Lyft and Avis. The rental giant will add “thousands” of cars to Lyft’s existing Express Drive program, making it easier for drivers to rent rather than own.
Anyone who has ever taken an Uber ride knows it’s convenient and very popular so one man in St. Joseph County has found a way to make ride sharing more scenic. Timothy Hochstedler calls it Amish Uber. He is adding some horsepower to ride sharing. The newest taxi service in Colon has four wheels, four legs and good gas mileage. Inside his horse and buggy, people share a ride and Hochstedler gets to share some stories. Everyone’s happy. “Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front door steps,” Hochstedler said.