Study: Ride-hailing, automation will hurt car sales

The growing popularity of ride-hailing services, coupled with the rise of electric and self-driving cars, will eventually put a dent in new car sales, according to a study from IHS Markit.The study predicts sales of vehicles to private users will decline nearly 20 percent to 54 million units annually in the four major car markets — the U.S., Europe, China and India — by 2040.At the same time, the study forecasts a sharp rise in the vehicle miles traveled per year in those areas — up 65 percent to 11 billion miles per year by 2040. This is reflecting a shift in the market from traditional consumer car buying to fleet purchasing by on-demand ride and shuttle services like Uber and Lyft.“We’re doing more with fewer resources, which from a tech perspective means we’re able to optimize and efficiently use our resources a lot better,” said Jeremy Carlson, an automotive analyst for IHS Markit.Ride-service companies are expected to purchase more than 10 million vehicles in the U.S., Europe, China and India in the next 23 years. Those companies are only expected to purchase about 300,000 vehicles in 2017, as the study predicts these companies will move away from asking drivers to provide their own cars.While consumers favor ride services over car-ownership, these mobility companies are expected to also be among the most influential adopters of disruptive technology like electric vehicles and driverless cars. The study says individual car buyers will also start to favor electric vehicle technology as the cost of battery packs should be slashed in half to just $100 per kilowatt hour — the price point necessary to make electric power competitive with fossil fuels.“Consumer adoption in general is going to be key to all of this,” Carlson said. “We need to better understand how consumers will react to autonomous vehicles, especially, but electric vehicles too.”The study says electric vehicles, including Continue Reading

Student killed after using ride-hailing app prompts women in Mexico to march against violence

Thousands marched through the streets of Mexico to protest violence against women following the death of a 19-year-old, whose body was discovered shortly after she used a ride-hailing app. The body of Mara Fernanda Castilla was found abandoned in a ditch a little more than 50 miles outside of Mexico City, Puebla State Governor Tony Gali. Puebla authorities believe she was killed by a driver from the ride-hailing service, Cabify. She used the app to catch a ride in the early morning hours of Sept. 8 after a night of clubbing with friends, but never reached her destination, according to the Guardian. Security cameras outside the 19-year-old’s apartment shows the driver passing by her building but did not show Castilla exiting the vehicle or entering the residence, the news site reported. Still, a receipt was sent to her email for the ride. Investigators said the driver instead of dropping the young woman off at home took her to a hotel, where she was sexually assaulted and strangled. The driver has since been arrested. Castilla had recently moved to Puebla, a Mexico city that has already seen 83 “feminicidios” — or acts of extreme violence against women — in 2017, to study political science, according to the Guardian. The news of her death sparked anger across the country and prompted marches and demonstrations against such acts of violence and in support of Castilla and similar victims amid Mexico’s independence day holiday. Protests also made their way to social media, where the hashtag “#SiMeMatan” — or “if they kill me” trended over the weekend. It’s previously been used to accuse officials of doing too little in the wake of crimes against women. Castilla reportedly used the hashtag herself on May 5, tweeting: “#SiMeMatan it’s because I liked to go out and drink a lot of beer.” Apps like Uber and Cabify have been Continue Reading

Daimler to launch Via ride-hailing in Europe

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler is investing 50 million euros (£46 million) in a new joint venture with U.S.-based ride-hailing start-up Via to offer on-demand shared shuttle services in European cities starting with London this year.Via already offers 1 million rides a month in Chicago, New York and Washington, complementing local transport by allowing customers to hail a van to a virtual bus stop using their smartphone.The European joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via will operate as a new entity with headquarters in Amsterdam, Daimler said, adding that Volker Morhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, will join Via's board of directors.Daimler and Via's joint venture will seek to partner with public transit operators across Europe and to develop vans with electric and autonomous vehicle technology. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Jason Neely)(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

China ride-hailing firm DiDi backs Uber rival Careem

By Alexander Cornwell and Eric Auchard DUBAI/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - DiDi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing firm, has invested in Middle East online taxi service Careem in a new partnership deal that marks Didi's latest international expansion against rival Uber. DiDi is seeking to turn up the heat on ride-sharing pioneer Uber via a string of partnerships with regional players in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa and now the Middle East. It has previously done similar deals in Latin America as well as with Uber's U.S. rival Lyft. DiDi said on Tuesday it would invest in Careem to strengthen its market position across the region. The two companies said they would cooperate on smart transportation technology, product development and operations. Careem and DiDi declined to comment on the size of the Chinese company's investment in Careem. Founded five years ago, Dubai-based Careem has 12 million customers in 80 cities ranging from Pakistan to Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. It is ahead of Uber in Pakistan and a strong second player to Uber in other regional markets, according to research firm SimilarWeb, which tracks consumer mobile and web usage habits. DiDi's ride-hailing system covers cities representing 60 percent of the world’s population in 1,000 cities in North America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America, it said. Over the past few weeks, DiDi has announced a similar investment in Estonian-based ride-hailing firm Taxify to help it to expand in Europe and Africa. DiDi and its backer SoftBank Group have also said they would contribute the bulk of a new $2.5 billion investment into Grab, a major online taxi player in south east Asia ( Careem has raised $572 million in funding from a range of investors, including a $150 million round led by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding, according to Crunchbase data. German auto maker Daimler and Japan's Rakuten are also Continue Reading

Uber’s board considering placing CEO of ride-hailing company on leave amid harassment claims: report

The board of Uber was meeting Sunday to consider placing the CEO of the ride-hailing company on leave, according The New York Times and other news outlets. The Times reported that three people with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that Uber's board was meeting to consider recommendations from a law firm hired to review Uber's corporate culture and that the board may decide to put CEO Travis Kalanick on temporary leave. The newspaper said its sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for Uber. Uber Technologies Inc. has been rocked by accusations that its management has fostered a workplace environment where harassment, discrimination and bullying are left unchecked. Uber spokesman Matt Kallman said that he wasn't sure the company would make a statement after the meeting. Reuters and the tech blog Recode reported the board meeting earlier. The Wall Street Journal also was citing unnamed sources about the meeting. Uber has hired the law firm of former Attorney General Eric Holder to review policies and recommend changes. A report by his firm, Covington & Burling, was expected to be made public soon. Uber announced last week that it fired 20 employees for harassment problems. Under CEO Kalanick, Uber has shaken up the taxi industry in hundreds of cities and turned the San Francisco-based company into the world's most valuable startup. Uber's valuation has climbed to nearly $70 billion. But Kalanick has acknowledged his management style needs improvement. The 40-year-old CEO said earlier this year that he needed to "fundamentally change and grow up." In February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote on a blog that she had been propositioned by her boss in a series of messages on her first day of work and that superiors ignored her complaints. Uber set up a hotline for complaints after that and hired the law firm of Perkins Coie to investigate. Continue Reading

Ride hailing firm Grab commits $100 million to expand in Myanmar

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ride-hailing firm Grab, the main Southeast Asian rival of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], said it would commit $100 million over the next three years to deepen its presence in Myanmar, grow to more cities and roll out its other services. Grab said it wanted to launch its payments platform, GrabPay, and build a local team of up to 200. Both Grab and Uber launched services in Yangon earlier this year seeking growth in a market where internet penetration has exploded from next to nothing a few years ago to nearly 90 percent now, with more people turning to apps and mobile services.Their plans coincide with a push by the authorities to work to revamp public transport, starting with the bus network in Yangon. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

Ride-hailing firm Grab to get $2.5 billion as firms pump funds into SE Asia startups

By Aradhana Aravindan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ride-hailing firm Grab expects to raise $2.5 billion to spend extending its lead over Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and expanding into financial services, in the latest injection of funds into Southeast Asia's burgeoning tech scene. Chinese peer Didi Chuxing and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T> will contribute most of the money, which a person close to the Singapore-based firm said would value it at $6 billion. The investment would be the latest in a Southeast Asian tech startup as major companies seek growth in the region's huge developing economies with young, tech-savvy demographics. Chinese social media firm Tencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK> put up to $150 million into Grab's Indonesian peer Go-Jek, sources said this month, while in June, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd spent an additional $1 billion to raise its stake in Singapore-based e-tailer Lazada. Grab's fresh fundraising is "a real endorsement of the potential and promise" of Southeast Asia's startup community, said Dane Anderson, a vice president at researcher Forrester. Didi and SoftBank are already investors in Grab and other ride-hailing services globally. The pair will add $2 billion, and with $500 million from others, the fundraising will be Southeast Asia's biggest-ever single round of financing, Grab said on Monday. "With their support, Grab will achieve an unassailable market lead in ride-sharing, and build on this to make GrabPay the payment solution of choice for Southeast Asia," Anthony Tan, group chief executive officer and Grab co-founder, said in a statement. CONSUMER TECH Grab operates private car, motorcycle, taxi and carpooling services across seven countries with 1.1 million drivers. It said it has a market share of 95 percent in third-party taxi-hailing and 71 percent in private vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia. But its share could be under threat as San Francisco-based Uber, the world's largest ride-hailing Continue Reading

Austin hunted for solutions in run up to ride-hailing vote

AUSTIN — Hours after Austin voters rejected a proposal by Uber and Lyft and the ride-hailing companies shut down their apps here, Mayor Steve Adler’s inbox began filling with hateful emails.“Please shut up and go away” and “Nice mom jeans Adolph Adler!” were the milder ones. He received 10,000 emails in one week — more than he’s ever gotten on a single issue and most of them harshly negative. Across the USA, pundits and bloggers characterized the mayor and his city as anti-innovators for allowing the popular ride-hailing companies to leave.But the months leading up to the closely watched May 7 vote were filled with marathon phone calls and face-to-face meetings between the mayor and company execs where some innovative solutions to the standoff surfaced, including cutting-edge microchip technology and “geo-fencing” of drivers who undergo fingerprinting-based background checks.Uber and Lyft started operating in Austin in 2014, performing their own background checks of drivers. When the city council passed an ordinance in December requiring fingerprinting, the companies threatened to leave town and proposed an alternative that would allow them to self-regulate.A group backed by the companies gathered 65,000 signatures to put the proposal on the ballot, but when the initiative failed, Uber and Lyft held true to their promise: Their apps shut down here two days later.Major cities such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia — where both companies currently operate — have faced similar clashes when trying to regulate the popular ride-hailing companies. But the Austin standoff is unique for the city’s resistance to the corporations and the innovative ideas spawned from the drama, said Paul Mackie of the Mobility Lab, an Arlington-based transportation think tank.“It’s kind of exposing Uber and Continue Reading

Christie signs law regulating ride-hailing services

Gov. Chris Christie signed into law on Friday a measure that for the first time establishes statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.The law sets standards for insurance coverage, permitting and criminal background checks for the companies and their drivers. It is the result of months of sometimes strained negotiations between lawmakers and lobbyists.“This legislation makes it easier for this innovative business model to conduct business in our state, creating earning opportunities for our residents and providing transportation services that are already in high demand,” Christie said in a signing statement. ROAD WARRIOR: School bus cams, fatalities and much more COURT: Taxi companies’ suit against Newark over Uber is tossed UBER: Devils put Uber in driver's seat with new partnership Ride-hailing companies have been operating in New Jersey for years – Uber said it has logged millions of rides and signed up more than 13,000 drivers since launching in the state in 2013 – but until now, state regulations have lagged. A spokesman for Uber said New Jersey is the 36th state to enact a statewide ride-sharing law.For years, local officials faced pressure from the taxi industry and other groups to introduce regulations of their own, resulting in a patchwork of inconsistently enforced regulations.The new law requires every ride to be covered by at least $1.5 million in commercial insurance. It mandates that all drivers submit to a criminal background check but punts on the issue  of whether fingerprinting is part of the process.Under the law, a ride-hailing company must submit to the attorney general its method for conducting background checks of drivers. If the attorney general rejects the company's method, its drivers will have to submit to background checks by the state police, which include fingerprinting.The law will Continue Reading

Police: Ride-hailing driver choked Delaware student

The driver of a ride-hailing service is accused of assaulting a customer who was a University of Delaware student.University of Delaware police in a statement that 32-year-old Yolande Mcallister, of New Castle, choked the 19-year-old student and struck him several times during an argument Tuesday night in the parking lot of a residence hall.The victim was treated at a hospital and later released.Authorities say Mcallister fled the scene but has since been apprehended. He has been charged third-degree assault, strangulation and disorderly conduct.It is unclear which ride-hailing service Mcallister was working for. Online jail records do not list whether he has an attorney. Continue Reading