Uber

Disgusting: 50 Taxi Drivers Assault A Single Uber Driver In Malaysia

KL-Petronas-Towers

Uber has faced a lot of opposition with their growth, both on a government level and also on an individual level. While we’ve seen some peaceful protests from taxi drivers and their supporters (Russel Brand is among them), we’ve also repeatedly seen horrible violence against Uber drivers.

Well, the latest story of violence against Uber drivers comes out of Kuala Lumpur, and is one of the worst I’ve heard yet, since it seemed to be targeted against one specific driver. More than 50 taxi drivers attacked an Uber driver with a passenger, to the point that the passenger had to go to the hospital.

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Uber Launches Loyalty Program For Capital One Customers

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Uber has a few partnerships with different companies. To me, the most interesting one is their partnership with Starwood, as you can earn bonus Starpoints for Uber rides.

However, from April 2015 until April 2016, Uber had a pretty awesome partnership with Capital One. Those with the Capital One Quicksilver or Capital One Quicksilver One could receive 20% of the cost of their Uber rides back as a statement credit, as long as they were charged in USD. There were no limits, so it was essentially a way to get a 20% discount on all Uber rides.

I didn’t sign-up for a Capital One card, since I didn’t see much value in the card otherwise, and didn’t want a credit inquiry just for the Uber discount (though now that I look at how much I’ve spend on Uber in the past year, maybe I should have).

While the 20% statement credit promotion has ended, it looks like Uber and Capital One have partnered to form a loyalty program. I wrote in the past about Uber testing out a loyalty program concept in Los Angeles, though it was of limited use. This partnership has the potential to be a lot more interesting.

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Following Lyft’s Lead, Uber Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides As Well

Uber-Rides

A couple of weeks back I wrote about how Lyft was testing out allowing people to schedule rides through the app. It’s an interesting progression of on-demand ridesharing services, given that one of the selling points has long been that you can request a ride on the spot, and have someone pick you up within minutes.

A lot of people said the scheduling feature would be useful in cases where you need an early morning ride to the airport, etc. However, I’m not sure I really see the upside:

— The app will basically just automatically request a car a few minutes before your ride was requested for, so if there aren’t any cars available, I imagine you’re still out of luck
— You’re not actually locking in pricing, so can still be subject to surge pricing

Well, it looks like Uber is now following Lyft’s lead, as Uber will soon let you schedule rides as well. Here’s a demonstration of how it works:

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Uber Is Testing A Points Based Loyalty Program — Here Are The Details

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For many of us, ridesharing has almost become a necessity (as many living in Austin can attest to, given that Uber and Lyft both recently pulled out of the market).

While we’ve seen a ton of money spent on marketing from ridesharing apps, interestingly we haven’t seen a full out loyalty program yet. As of now there are a few ways riders are being rewarded:

— You can earn Uber credit for referring friends (for example, you can get $20 off your first Uber ride if you sign-up through my link, and I get the same reward)
— In select markets Uber has a VIP program, though it’s quite useless, as it simply matches you with “the best drivers,” which often requires a longer wait
— You can earn Starwood Preferred Guest points for Uber rides, for the first $10,000 spent per year with Uber (I’m guessing only very few people spend more per year on Uber than that); you earn one Starpoint per dollar spent, and even more points if you’re using Uber in conjunction with a Starwood stay)

Per Doctor Of Credit, Uber is testing a loyalty program in Los Angeles for a limited time. Here’s how it works:

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Lyft Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides In Advance

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Wait a second, doesn’t that completely negate the point of an on-demand ridesharing service?

Well, it’s something Lyft will soon be testing out in San Francisco, and is planning on expanding to other markets this summer. Via the Lyft Blog:

“When it comes to getting around, passengers tell us they sometimes want the extra peace of mind to schedule a ride in advance. So today, we’re excited to start testing a new feature that allows passengers to schedule rides up to 24 hours in advance.

Whether you have an early-morning flight and need to get to the airport or have a make-or-break business meeting cross-town, scheduled rides will get you out the door and off to your destination at your specified pickup time.”

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I’m Tempted To Start Micro-Managing My Uber Rating…

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I’m a huge fan of Uber, and have used them hundreds of times. For me they’ve transformed how I get around, especially in cities where public transportation is lacking. I love that Uber is cashless (even though I sometimes tip), and I also find the service to pretty consistently be excellent.

That’s the beauty of Uber’s instant feedback loop. After each ride, the passenger can rate the driver, and the driver can rate the passenger. It keeps the drivers on their feet, since they can get kicked out if their rating falls too low.

A lot of Uber users don’t realize that they can pull up their Uber rating at any time through the app or Uber’s website. In March I explained how you can find out your Uber score — it’s quite easy, and can be updated at any time.

I’m surprised Uber lets you constantly see your rating, because it enrages some customers to see when their rating drops after a ride. On a recent post, reader lopore said the following about waiting to rate drivers until after he sees how they rated him:

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Get $10 Off Your Next Uber Ride

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While Uber often has promotions for new users, it’s rare to see promotions for existing users. Existing users can get $10 off their next Uber ride by using promotion code ANDROIDPAY. Just open the Uber app, click the menu button at the top left, and click on the “Promotions” section. That’s where you’ll enter the promotion code.

The promotion code will immediately be reflected in your account, and as you’ll see, it’s valid through May 31, 2016, so you have a bit over two weeks to use it.

For what it’s worth, despite the name of the promotion code, I had no issues using it for my iPhone.

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Here’s Why Uber & Lyft Voluntarily Shut Down In Austin

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Uber has changed the way I approach ground transportation, as they make getting around in cities without good public transportation easier and more comfortable than ever before. I’m happy that they take the taxi mafias around the US to task, given that the taxi industry has had zero innovation for decades, with horrible service, dirty cars, and “broken” credit card machines.

That being said, I’m not disillusioned about Uber’s tactics. They use some really questionable methods to expand, and at times even cross the line. The thing is, that’s probably the best way to trigger change when the taxi mafias are in the pockets of so many politicians.

So over the years we’ve seen Uber expand to hundreds of markets, but also on occasion be kicked out of certain markets.

Both Uber & Lyft are no longer operating in Austin… voluntarily.

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Uber Is Testing New Fees For Tardy Passengers

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I use Uber on a near daily basis, and if I had one complaint about their UberX service (at least in LA), it’s that I wish they’d charge more. I know that sounds backwards, but when I’m paying only a third of what a taxi costs, I feel like I can only have really low expectations of safety, comfort, and the condition of the car (the phrase “you get what you pay for” comes to mind).

So I’m all for Uber doing things which improve the bottom line for their drivers, so that it avoids silly things like them soliciting cash tips, which they’ll soon be allowed to do.

Uber has generally been a pretty anti-fee company, but they’re testing a new program which potentially adds fees for tardy passengers.

According to TechCrunch, the new program is being tested in New York City, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Dallas, so that Uber can evaluate the results and decide whether to expand it further.

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Uber Drivers Will Soon Be Able To Solicit Tips

Tips

One of the selling points of Uber is that it’s cashless. That’s not only great for those of us who like to earn points, but just a general convenience for those of us who don’t like carrying cash around.

The thing is, Uber keeps lowering their rates in so many markets to try and gain market share, and at times I almost feel guilty taking Uber.

For example, a while back I wrote about how cheap UberX is in the LA area. It costs 90 cents per mile, which is a third the cost of a taxi.

A ride from West Hollywood to LAX, which covers 13 miles over 47 minutes, costs ~$18.

I see both sides of this. Uber wants to gain market share, so they drop prices dramatically. Low prices are ultimately good for consumers. But I also don’t think these are “fair” prices, in the sense that I almost feel guilty taking an UberX at that rate. In other words, when the driver’s car is in horrible shape and they’re driving like a maniac, I sort of just shrug my shoulders and say “what was I expecting for 90 cents per mile?” The obvious counter argument is that people are choosing to work for Uber, so they don’t have to participate.

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Here’s Why A Florida Town Is Subsidizing Uber

SunRail

Uber has revolutionized the transportation game, despite getting a lot of opposition from governments, both on the national and local levels.

Some government concerns are on point, as Uber is far from perfect:

— Uber often uses questionable tactics to enter markets, where they’ll just begin operating until they’re shut down, at which point they’ll put their deep legal pockets into getting officially recognized
— UberX is arguably not regulated enough, in terms of safety standards, driver screening, and insurance
— It seems clear that Uber’s strategy in many markets is to artificially lower prices to the point that they’re driving taxi companies out of business, and then possibly raise prices significantly; at least that’s what it feels like, especially in markets where Uber is too cheap

Still, the taxi industry has done nothing to innovate for decades. When you look at the amount of dirty cars, bad service, “broken” credit card machines, etc., it’s hard to feel sorry for most cabbies.

But overall Uber has been met with opposition from governments. Look at how long it took Uber to be allowed in Las Vegas, and for Uber to be allowed to do airport pick-ups in Los Angeles.

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You Can Now See Your More Detailed Uber Score

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Last December I posted about how you can easily check your passenger rating through the Uber app.

Many people use Uber on a daily basis, and part of the reason it’s so successful is because of the great service. That’s largely due to the instant feedback loop, since you can rate your drive, which gives them an incentive to go above and beyond.

A lot of people don’t realize that passengers are actually rated as well. As a passenger your rating isn’t actually that important, since you likely won’t be rejected for a ride unless your score is really low. But that doesn’t stop people from being curious about what their scores are.

The ability to look up your rating directly through the Uber app is new as of late last year. Prior to that you had to email Uber to ask for your passenger rating.

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Claim Your American Executive Platinum Uber Code

American-Uber

In mid-February American announced a new partnership with Uber. It has been interesting to see Uber partner with so many travel brands, including Starwood, Hilton, and IHG. However, American is the first airline to partner with Uber, which is pretty awesome. While the partnership between Uber and Starwood has substantial benefits (SPG members earn Starpoints…

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My First And Last Time In A London Black Cab

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Confession time — prior to yesterday, I’ve never before been in a London black cab. In London I’ve relied almost exclusively on public transportation, along with the occasional Uber ride to supplement it. And it has worked out quite well.

It’s no secret that I avoid taxis as much as possible. While there are some great taxi drivers out there, the taxi industry as a whole has done so little to innovate over the past couple of decades, and thanks to technology that lack of innovation has finally caught up with them, thanks to the growth of the ridesharing economy. Beyond that, I seem to consistently have really bad luck with taxis for those times I do take them, from Abu Dhabi to Dubai to Frankfurt to Las Vegas to Warsaw.

I’ve always had respect for London cab drivers, because they’re the most well educated in the world. Becoming a London taxi driver requires going to school and passing a tough test, as you need to memorize the 25,000+ streets in London. It has always been my understanding that London cabbies are a proud bunch, and are understandably frustrated by Uber, since they’re not just clueless and rude drivers, but rather are well educated and knowledgable.

Heck, the slogan for London black cabs is “the finest taxi service in the world.”

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