Displaying items by tag: regulations

Can Apple remain unscathed in US-China trade war ?

Written on Thursday, 30 May 2019 12:21

US technology behemoth Apple could be one of the main targets for China as they look to retaliate and respond to the US campaign against Huawei by Washington.

Published in Government

Uber vows to stop using diesel cars in London by 2019

Written on Sunday, 17 September 2017 11:45

Global ride-hailing incumbent Uber has announced that it will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019. City officials in the English capital are aggressively pursuing initiatives and programs aimed at reducing the number of diesel vehicles being driven in and around the city, with London recording alarming levels of pollution.

Uber have shown their support for this movement by vowing that they will be using no diesel cars for their services by 2019, with a spokesman for the firm claiming that by that stage the vast majority of rides will be in either hybrid or electric vehicles.

Uber says currently almost half of its fleet that embark on journeys in London are undertaken in greener vehicles on the company’s standard low-cost Uber-X service, which enables users to book their journeys on their smartphone device.

A number of leading car manufacturers has announced plans to electrify a large proportion of their new cars. The most notably automaker was Swedish giants Volvo, who earlier this year became the first manufacturer to set a date on when it was phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

The UK has followed the lead of France and cities such as Mexico City, Athens and Madrid by declaring that it will prohibit the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers based in London, has indicated that they will only offer hybrid or electric vehicles on Uber-X by the turn of the decade – but plans to roll-out the program on a nationwide basis by 2022.

Uber’s Head of UK Cities, Fred Jones said Uber shared the concerns expressed by city officials in London in relation to growing problem of air pollution, and said the US-based ride-hailing service was keen to its part.

Jones said: “Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it with this bold plan. Londoners already know many cars on our app are hybrids, but we want to go much further and go all electric in the capital.

Uber has endured a difficult number of months with the firm being at the center of a number of salacious scandals ranging from sexual harassment to allegation of bullying, investor pressure eventually led to controversial and high-profile resignation of Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.

However, Uber has also faced stinging criticism in London, and has been locked in legal rows with trade unions, lawmakers and traditional black cab drivers over working conditions and the legality of its operations. It has also been reported that Uber intend to appeal a decision by a British judge which ruled that the tech company should treat two of its drivers as employees and pay them the minimum wage and holiday pay.

In addition to this, Uber is also waiting on the decision by the capital’s transport regulator who will determine later this month how much the ride-hailing app will need to pay in order to renew its new license.

In Uber’s statement in relation to its phasing out of diesel cars, it also announced its plan to help drivers switch from diesel cars to greener cars with a £150 million-pound fund, which would pay up to 5,000 pounds per upgrade from a petrol or diesel vehicle. Uber will generate the funds for this initiative by taxing an each fare with an additional 35p in London.

Published in Apps

The U.S. state of Massachusetts is reportedly planning to introduce a new 5 cent per trip fee for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, and will use the money to boost its traditional taxi industry. It will be the first subsidy of its kind in the United States. The law was signed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker this month, which is one of many regulations for the industry.

A Fortune report quotes Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service launched in Boston in 2015 operating in Austin, Texas, who said: “I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors.”

The new rule is not ideal for ride-hailing app services, but it plays right into the hands of traditional taxi companies. Some taxi companies, according to the report, considered pushing for even harsher laws, perhaps to even ban start-up ride-hailing services unless they meet the requirements that taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspections by the police.

“They’ve been breaking the laws that are on the books that we’ve been following for many years” said Larry Meister, manager of the Boston area’s Independent Taxi Operator’s Association. He refers to a law that levies a 20 cent fee, with 5 cents going to taxis, 10 cents to cities and towns, and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund.

With the law put in place for ride-hailing services, millions of dollars could be raised a year since Lyft and Uber together have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts. The new law is being put into place to help taxis adopt “new technologies and advanced services, safety and operation capabilities,” and to support workforce development, writes Fortune.

Mark Sternman, a spokesperson for Massachusetts’ MassDevelopment agency, said regulations for how the fee will be issued and collected, as well as a plan for how the funds will be spent, still needs to be drawn up. MassDevelopment will be in charge of the funds. The fee will be invisible to riders and drivers because the law prohibits companies from charging them. Instead, ride-hailing companies themselves will pay directly to the state.

Ride-hailing app services have certainly caused a stir around the world and authorities have been struggling to figure out how exactly to regulate them. The city of Seattle in Washington has passed a law allowing drivers to unionize. Meanwhile in Taiwan, Uber is reportedly up against a massive tax bill of up to $6.4 million.

Even though the new law in Massachusetts isn’t particularly ideal for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, the companies are said to have accepted the new fee in exchange for other provisions. For example, the services won’t be blocked from picking up passengers from Boston’s airport or convention center, but there will be special rules put in place for those sites.

Lyft spokesperson Adrian Durbin said the company is pleased with the new law, even though it is not perfect.

A column in the Boston Globe shared ideas of how to spend the new 5 cent fee, such as hospitality training, and incentive bonuses so that taxi owners could potentially upgrade to flagship vehicles like a Porsche to attract customers. But Larry Meister said the money will likely go towards improving the Independent Taxi Operator’s Association smartphone app.

“We definitely need some infrastructure changes,” he said.

The 5 cent fee will be collected through the end of 2021. Then the taxi subsidy will disappear and the 20 cents will be split by localities and the state of Massachusetts for five years. The whole fee will be gone by the end of 2026.

Published in Apps