Rideshare & delivery roundup: Uber Rewards, Boeing flying taxi, and more

Weekly rideshare & delivery roundup

Uber Rewards expanded

Uber Rewards is now available in the following cities and areas: Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego, New York City, Miami, New Jersey, Denver, Tampa Bay, Boston, Dallas, Orange County, Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fort Collins, Rockies, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, York-Gettysburg, Erie, Western Massachusetts.

It is a loyalty program announced by the company in November 2018. Uber Rewards is free to sign up for. It represents four membership tiers (blue, gold, platinum, and diamond) and provides rider’s progress in the app. Points get collected within a six-month earning period which results in unlocking rewards corresponding to a particular tier. The reached membership tier is available for the rest of the above mentioned period, as well as for the upcoming six months. You may see the benefits of each and every tier below.


Uber Rewards

“Once you earn 500 points, you’ll advance from Blue to Gold. At 2,500 points you’ll advance to Platinum. And at 7,500 points, you’ll advance to Diamond,” stated Uber.

Boeing’s first test flight for UberAir

Boeing is one of the companies currently partnering with Uber in creation of UberAir (Uber aerial taxi service). The company arranged a test flight in Manassas, Virginia. The electric prototype lifted off and landed vertically. It was not flying forward, however. The transition between a vertical take off and flying is supposed to be tested in the future. It took a year for the company to develop the flying taxi from scratch having only a prototype in store. While new concepts are being presented by other companies, Boeing is not idling away. Let’s pin hopes on the fact that soon we will be able to see other concepts in the flesh too.

Photo credit: Boeing

Uber’s autonomous bike & scooter plan

Having acquired Jump, Uber has been working on bike and scooter design that could potentially solve a lot of problems with regard to charging process. That is why Uber has just expressed its desire to develop self-driving bikes and scooters that can ride themselves to a pick-up point or charging spot. This sounds incredible and expensive enough to be deployed.

Perhaps, we will be able to know whether it is a tangible thing a bit later when a concept emerges. It is notable that Uber has already made batteries swappable, as well as contributed to self-diagnosis system of their electric bikes. This alone makes a Jump bike a decent option out there.

Frankly speaking, charging is one of the most problematic issues for companies renting out bikes and scooters. Companies haven’t still discovered how it is better to charge and elocate their fleet. They pay money to employees to collect the fleet and charge it in the night, as well as to drive vans and evenly distribute bikes and scooters throughout the city. It is costly as well. So, maybe, Uber’s idea could become a go-to solution for the company and its customers relieving traffic congestion and saving money in the long run.

Massachusetts to raise congestion fee

Massachusetts is intended to change its congestion fee value. A quick note: congestion fee deployment is a decision aimed at combating congestion in the busiest streets of cosmopolitan cities.

The local congestion fee was announced to be equal to 6.25 % of each standard ride and 4.25 % of each pooled ride. Current congestion fee equals to 20 cents for each ride in the framework of rideshare services. However small, such a modest fee resulted in $3.5 million surplus in the year 2018. It is equally shared between the municipality and a taxi industry fund.

Munchery no longer available

The company Munchery went out of food delivery business. It sold ready-made meals and offered monthly and annual subscriptions that offered a 20 % discount to their customers. In 2018 it fired 257 employees and closed its divisions in Los Angeles and New York. According to former Munchery’s plans, the company had been aiming to strongly focus on the market of San Fransisco, being the most profitable one. However, it all went wrong for the start-up.

Munchery had been delivering food to their customers since the year 2010. However, it turned out difficult enough for them to share the market with such giants as UberEars, GrubHub, DoorDash, and Postmates. Munchery raised $125 million in funding at $300 million evaluation.

DoorDash in 50 states now

DoorDash is now available in fifty states, which makes the food delivery service the first gig-economy one to become available nationwide. The San-Francisco based company has just entered the markets of Anchorage, Alaska; Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula, Montana; Fargo, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Morgantown and Huntington, West Virginia; Cheyenne, Wyoming.

According to Edison Trends research, the fact of being the first food delivery service available in all fifty states doesn’t preclude Doordash from holding the third position in terms of market share with its 18%, GrubHub (34%) and UberEats (28%) still remaining leaders in almost a tie game. Whereas, Doordash seems to be a winner in terms of revenue growth that equals to 42%, UberEats (11%) and GrubHub (-17%) falling far behind.

Government workers go to Uber, Lyft, and Postmates

It has been over a month since the longest US Government shutdown in the history began leaving federal workers with no salary. This furlough is now posing a huge threat to gig economy giants’ IPO. The companies are waiting for the Securities and Exchange Commission to reopen. Neither the Commission, nor the companies comment on the issue since IPO details are confidential.

In the current situation Uber, Lyft, and Postmates started accepting federal workers as independent contractors which gave them an opportunity to have additional revenue in such an unstable situation. Well, we are lucky that nowadays there is always a way to find a source to earn money in a contingency situation. Please note that both Uber and Lyft offer sign-up bonuses, however Uber’s sign-up bonus is really massive (at least $775 guaranteed).

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