A select group of people in South Carolina will be the test subjects for a new project designed to make an Uber ride safer.

The city of Charleston has been selected as a test site by Uber for a new 911 app keyed specifically to Uber rides. The app will automatically upload a rider’s trip details and his or her location to a emergency dispatcher. The app will be super easy and quick to use if the rider feels threatened during the ride. Some observers call it, “the panic button.”

Officials with Uber declined to say why South Carolina’s largest city is the perfect location to test the new security app, but they the 911 application will go nationwide if all goes well. The application is designed to enhance both rider and driver safety.

Making the app work involves solving a number of critical logistical and technological problems. For one thing, Uber needs software that can search databases geographically to enable riders to connect with local emergency services while essentially being a moving target.

Uber has been growing rapidly in popularity in South Carolina for several years. It surpassed the 1 million ride mark there almost three years ago and has completed millions more rides since. The company has experienced some growing pains here, however.

For example, South Carolina does not allow cab drivers to accept cash of any kind, including tips. But the Uber does not allow for accepting electronic tips. That means driver must technically break the law when the take a cash gratuity, so many are doing it “under the radar.”

As for the new 911 app, it’s all part of Uber’s effort to go the extra mile in dealing with one of the challenges the company has faced often — the issue of safety.

On Tuesday, irate taxi drivers met outside New York’s City Hall to demand tighter regulation of ride-hailing services such as Uber after the suicide of five cab drivers in the past few months.

The executive director of NYTWA (New York Taxi Workers Alliance), Bhairavi Desai, said cab driver wages have been driven down by the influx of ride-hailing cars over the past several years. This forced many cab drivers to the brink of despair.

Desai’s group is calling for a limit on the number of Uber and similar ride-hailing cars on city streets. The group also wants the city to increase wages by ensuring minimum metered fares are uniform across the cab industry. Most cab drivers say they have lost or experienced a reduction in revenue since the inception of ride-hailing vehicles.

According to the NYCTLC (New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission), approximately 70,000 app-based cars compete with 4,000 green taxis, 13,500 yellow taxis, and 30,000 livery cars and black cars. The commission also stated that 2,000 vehicles are licensed every month, and the majority serve app-based companies.

At the City Hall rally, a number of speakers rallied against “Wall Street” and Uber for undercutting fares of traditional cab drivers. One speaker, Victor Salazar who is a taxi workers alliance member said “Shame on the apps, shame on Uber and the gig economy.”

An Uber spokeswoman, Danielle Filson said that drivers who have medallions were exploited by lenders and left behind by change. She said Uber supports any action that will ease the financial burden of such drivers.

A raft of bills geared towards assisting all taxi drivers is being considered by the Council Committee on For-Hire Vehicles in New York City. The consideration includes legislation that would put a cap on the number of for-hire vehicle licenses in the city in a bid to increase drivers’ earnings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Spokesmen Speaker Corey Johnsons said in separate statements on Tuesday that they are finding ways to improve conditions for cab drivers. Desai said the best hope for the industry lied in legislation. Anything that is not legislation was lip service, she added in her closing statement.

June 14, 2018 · Lyft, Uber · (No comments)

Uber and Lyft are certainly part of the American transportation landscape. In just a few short years these two companies have captured a significant portion of the public’s short-trip transportation business. However, not everyone is happy about the way that these two companies operate. This is especially true when it comes to the area of employee compensation.


San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has issued subpoenas against both Uber and Lyft. He wants these two companies to turn over their records regarding how much their drivers are paid and what benefits the drivers receive.


The Supreme Court of the State of California has issued a ruling that increases the difficulty for a company to claim that its workers are independent contractors and not actual employees of the company. Those who are considered to be actual employees of a company are entitled to minimum rates of pay. They are also entitled to certain benefits if they work full-time, and the company has over a certain number of employees.


Mr. Herrera wants to know how long drivers are working, and if they are making at least minimum wage. He wants the drivers to be afforded access to benefits if they are working a significant number of hours.


Both Uber and Lyft are fighting the efforts of some states and municipalities to have their drivers considered employees instead of independent contractors. If the current designation of drivers changes, analysts believe that the business costs for Uber and Lyft would increase by approximately 30 percent.


This is not the first action that Mr. Herrera has taken against Uber and Lyft. In 2017, Mr. Herrera subpoenaed records regarding the companies’ traffic impact and how they respond to the needs of those with disabilities. So far, Lyft has provided the information, but Uber has not.

Take a ride through the streets of San Francisco today, and you may encounter something surprising – Uber’s new self-driving cars navigating through traffic. Uber, the popular low-cost car service app, has debuted a small fleet of self-driving cars that are causing controversy with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Officials are concerned about the safety of self-driving car technology, which has been developed over the past decade by major tech companies including Google and Tesla. According to a statement released by the DMV, Uber failed to obtain the permits needed to test self-driving cars on city streets. The company obliquely criticized the state DMV by claiming the regulations regarding permits were slowing innovation. The company’s point of contention is that a driver and an engineer are present in the front seat of the car at all times and are monitoring the vehicle, and can manually operate it if the car encounters a situation that requires human intervention. Uber contends that since their cars are not “driverless,” the company should be exempted from the California restrictions on testing self-driving cars. The San Francisco Uber blog states, “…the rules apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them. For us, it’s still early days and our cars are not yet ready to drive without a person monitoring them.” After a successful test of self-driving Uber vehicles in Pittsburgh, Uber hopes to advance this new technology in San Francisco and beyond.