Hey guys! It’s This Week in Rideshare News: There was an Uber Pet beta test, hacker Jane Wong reveals what Lyft is working on, Lyft Partners with BEST in Las Vegas to combat sex trafficking, and an Arizona CEO fired after yelling racial slurs at Uber driver in a dash cam video.
Cecily: Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Cecily and it’s this week in rideshare news.
Cecily: You complained and complained, and they listen, kind of. Starting this week, Uber is testing a new and very confusing option: Uber Pet. Now, Uber Pet is a vehicle option that allows you to bring your pet on an Uber trip. So what the rider will do is they will order their car, they’ll select Uber Pet and off they go. Uber Pet is available for one animal only. They said there are no breed or size restrictions and any additional pets are within the driver discretion.
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Cecily: Now, here is the confusing part. While some drivers soon will have the ability to turn on Uber Pet or to turn it off, this feature is only for non-service animals and do not apply to Uber’s animal service policy. In addition, if a rider says that you discriminated against them, all the rider has to say is their dog or cat or snake was a service animal. And the law, as I understand it currently, is that while you’re able to ask if an animal has a service designation, they are not required to show you that. So, please use discretion in handling these Uber Pet, non-Uber Pet service animals situations. I know they’re just doing the best they can because there is a law in place.
Cecily: But I am curious, when are they going to do the whole, I’m extremely allergic option, because that supersedes all of these different designations and things. I’m super allergic to dogs, so I’m not going to take your dog nowhere. And I found that photo, I said I was going to show you guys this photo of when this person’s golden retriever was in the car and this is the photo. He looks so nice, right? And it took me an hour to get all of his hair out of the car and Uber didn’t pay for it. So good luck with that.
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Cecily: A popular hacker reveals Lyft’s newest app features without their permission. Notable hacker, Jane Wong, hacks into Lyft’s app the other day and she released all these screenshots of the new features on her Twitter. I’m curious if this is a publicity stunt, but this is what this girl does. So some of the highlights include background location sharing, a dark mood, price-watch tool, voice search for entering ride destinations, animation for the routes, notification preferences, which is good, a new profile page, a price-level indicator, in-app vehicle service appointment scheduling, a biometric lock, driver referral mileage bonus, auto arrive and automatic notifications for passenger arrivals when they’re near their destination, a commute alert and new car payment form. None of these features are currently live in the app and Lyft has given no official word on when they will be released.
Cecily: Now, Wong describes herself or what she does on her Twitter as reverse engineering apps for hidden features and security vulnerabilities, a very fancy way of saying she’s a hacker. She’s done this with other apps and I found it to be super fascinating. She’s only 25 years old. Go, girl. And I’ve got a few questions for her about this latest Instagram rollout so maybe she’ll give us the T on that.
Cecily: Lyft drivers in Las Vegas are learning how to recognize victims of sex trafficking and how they can help. Nevada ranks 10th in the nation for the number of sex trafficking victims, and Las Vegas is also hotspot due to the city’s culture and the high rates of homelessness. Now, Lyft has teamed up with BEST, or Business Ending Slavery and Trafficking, for a free one-day seminar, teaching drivers the signs of sex trafficking and how to report cases to the police and/or sex trafficking lines. Last summer, Uber launched a set of initiatives to fight against human trafficking by developing materials that were distributed to riders and drivers. Now, Lyft says that it’s human trafficking prevention aligns with the company’s commitment to affect a positive change and to build and maintain safe communities. I Like that. Now, Lyft has only offered this training in two places, being Miami and Las Vegas, and they have plans in doing that in other markets. Nice job.
Cecily: And now for my favorite segment, What Would You Do? An Arizona-based fertilizer company has fired its CEO after a video of him surfaced berating and African-American Uber driver and calling him the N word. Agroplasma CEO President Hans Berglund was ousted this past Wednesday. The encounter was caught on tape. Now, we’ve had this conversation before, this is for another video, we’ve had this conversation before about what do you do when someone gets in your front seat and you don’t want them to sit there? Well, this was, this guy’s take on that.
Speaker 2: And Sean, going over that video tonight, and Zach, the driver, wants to see some changes.
Zach Crenshaw: Yeah, most of all he wants to see that passenger change his use of words, but he also wants to see Uber take these incidents of racism more seriously and investigate a little quicker. All of this exploding because the passenger wanted to get in the front seat.
Hans Berglund: Are you (beep) serious with me?
Randy Clark : No, I don’t like when people sit in the front, period. I’ll cancel and refund you.
Speaker 6: Randy Clark says most of his Uber rides are not like what you just heard.
Randy Clark : I got two iPads for games and music.
Speaker 6: His car, pure joy for passengers. In fact, he has a nearly perfect rating on Uber.
Randy Clark : You got the drinks, you got the snacks.
Speaker 6: The ASU senior has been driving…
Randy Clark : Four and a half years with over 14,000 rides under my belt.
Speaker 6: One ride though…
Randy Clark : I was sexually assaulted before.
Speaker 6: … changed everything.
Randy Clark : He was drunk, grabbed my crotch.
Speaker 6: That’s why Randy now has these signs.
Randy Clark : Front seat use is reserved for parties of three or more.
Speaker 6: Friday night, a rider tried to hop in up front.
Randy Clark : Mind sitting in the back?
Hans Berglund: No. Yeah, I don’t like to sit there.
Randy Clark : I don’t like when people sit in the front.
Speaker 6: Both men agreed to cancel the trip, but the passenger then jumped in the back.
Hans Berglund: I’m here. I’m sitting in the backseat.
Randy Clark : Sir, please leave my vehicle.
Hans Berglund: Is that because I’m white.
Randy Clark : No, sir.
Hans Berglund: You’re a (beep.). You are (beep).
Cecily: Yeah, so that escalated quickly. I think it was really unnecessary for it to have gone there. You can totally tell this guy has had a bunch of rides under his belt because he was like, “Look, I’ll refund you. You’ll be good to go. I don’t want no problems. I don’t need these problems.” And that guy had a problem with him anyway.
Cecily: But here’s my question, my question for you is had this happened to you, how would you ever responded? So for those of you guys who want to answer that part, I’d love to hear it. Now here’s another question that I have for you. If this happened to you, would you go that far and try to find out who that person was to get them fired? Now, I know that it might be hard to relate to and so think of it in terms of somebody who says something to you that was completely hurtful about your culture, your race, your spirituality, something that is very much close to you. And now, we all have something that is a part of our identity. You know what I’m saying? So I’m curious this to see if anybody would be petty enough to get somebody fired from the job.
Cecily: I was happy to see that the story that I released last week about the increase in just xenophobia and racism towards some drivers of Asian descent, that there’s a bunch of stories out there now circulating about it and so I want to say, “We broke it first. In your face, bro.” But beyond that I just thought it was really cool to see does the stuff that we talk about on this channel, not just me, not just on this channel, just in general, if you guys have things to complain about, you guys have things that you think that could be improved, it helps in just putting it out there.
Cecily: The more enforces that we have, the more we are asserting ourselves and letting people know that we’re not happy with this, this needs to be improved. And trust me, I’ve been doing this for going on four years now. Most of the things that we talked about, especially at length, they have responded to with some sort of improvement. They’ve responded to it, they really have. And you can ask any of my creator friends, and ask Carrie, if we talk about it, if we explore it, if we criticize it, if we offer solutions, they make improvements.
Cecily: So if you liked this video, give me a thumbs up. If you are not subscribed, police subscribe, that red button below is waiting to be pressed. And that is it, I will see you next week. I’m going to put this down. I will see you next Saturday morning. Bye.
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