Volkswagen’s plans for spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting electric vehicles in California, part of its punishment for a massive air pollution scandal, won approval Thursday from the California Air Resources Board. The program includes designating Sacramento as its first “Green City,” where Volkswagen will spend $44 million developing an electric car-sharing service, building car-charging stations and providing other benefits over the next 30 months.
Airbnb and the NAACP announced a partnership today to promote the rental service’s platform in communities of color. The move is a way to both boost the sharing economy as an income stream for black Americans and help increase the diversity of hosts to curb discrimination. Airbnb has grappled for years now with racism on its platform, with hosts discriminating against people of color and other minorities both in the US and abroad when deciding who they permit to rent their homes or apartments.
Taco Bell is testing a new service that allows users of the ride-sharing app Lyft to add a Taco Bell stop to their ride with the click of a button. The companies have announced “Taco Mode,” an option for Lyft app users. Taco Bell says Lyft users who select Taco Mode get a custom menu, a taco-themed car and a free taco when they make their “ride-thru” stop at a nearby Taco Bell.
The twenty-first century has seen cultural and economic changes in many areas, including employment. One of the biggest cultural shifts has to do with sharing – pairing those who have commodities with those who need them. And it’s not just about rides and rooms; the sharing economy is coming to the world of dental employment through the unique, cloud-based startup Cloud Dentistry.
When Portland launched its bike-share system last year, disability rights advocates questioned why the city wasn’t making public bikes accessible for people with disabilities as well. The issue got attention in a City Council race, and the city listened.
If you’re in Seattle, you may have noticed a bunch of bikes parked randomly around the city lately, painted bright orange and green. Those are the two new bike-sharing programs in the city: Spin and LimeBike. The competing services are rolling out in Seattle before other major U.S. cities, giving us a front-row seat for a new approach to short-term urban bike rentals — something that the city has struggled with in the past, with the ill-fated Pronto program.
The arrival of Uber and Lyft in Alaska is perhaps the biggest development for Alaska’s gig economy, which appears to be growing even though it seems to still lag behind other states.
In East Asia, Uber’s biggest rivals smell blood. Grab, the Singapore-based ride-sharing company competing with Uber for dominance in Southeast Asia, said on Monday that it expected to raise $2.5 billion in a new fund-raising round, in part with the help of the onetime major Uber competitor Didi Chuxing, which outmaneuvered its American rival in China.
Airbnb Inc. hosts and Etsy Inc. vendors who have avoided taxes on income from the sharing economy might have to start sharing more with the Internal Revenue Service. Federal rules don’t require such companies to withhold any income taxes on the payments they route to people who provide services or sell items via their online platforms. The companies do have to notify the IRS about some participants’ earnings — but only if they exceed $20,000 and conduct more than 200 transactions a year.
Silicon Valley’s steady march toward self-driving cars took another step forward Friday as the ride-hailing company Lyft said its customers will be able to summon a driverless vehicle on some roads by the end of the year.