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Lyft Joins Uber in Banning Maskless Passenger Who Assaulted San Francisco Driver

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  • Video has gone viral showing a violent altercation between a San Francisco Uber driver and three women who he asked to leave his car when one entered without a mask. 
  • Footage shows the women coughing on the driver, snatching his phone, and pulling his face mask off while cursing and insulting him. 
  • One woman defended the group’s behavior on Instagram, saying they refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”
  • She also threatened to sue Uber saying, “That’s why I use Lyft,” though Lyft quickly joined Uber in banning the rider from its service.

Viral Video

Uber and Lyft have both banned a customer in San Francisco, California who was caught on camera physically assaulting and verbally berating a driver.

The incident reportedly happened at around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday when the Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, picked up three women and noticed one wasn’t wearing a mask. 

Khadka told local reporters that he drove the group to a nearby gas station for one of the masked friends to buy the unmasked passenger a face covering. By the time that friend returned, however, he said the two other passengers were taunting and berating him for picking them up in the first place.

After having enough of the verbal abuse, which allegedly included racial slurs, he decided to end the ride and asked them to leave his car.

Dashcam footage Khadka recorded showed the women screaming and swearing at him, refusing to get out of the car. Two of the women cough on him while one laughs, adding “And I got corona.” Then one of the women reaches over, grabbing the driver’s phone.

“Don’t touch my property,” Khadka warns before the woman pulls his mask off his face.

The woman who snatched his phone and mask recorded some of the exchange herself and posted the footage to her Instagram before turning her account private.

She argued that her group refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”

Her claims seem to align with remarks she made on the dashcam video, including, “You think you can kick us out in the middle of the f***ing thing? Are you stupid?”

In her own clips, the women and her friends are also heard saying that they won’t get out of the car at the gas station until their next Uber arrives.

Khadka repeatedly tells the women to get out and wait for their next car, even saying he will drive home if they don’t exit and stop wasting his time. He does drive off at one point after they continue to refuse and berate him.

According to police who are investigating the incident, when the group finally did exit, one of the women reached into an open window to spray what was believed to have been pepper spray into the vehicle and towards the driver before fleeing. 

Khadka said that spray was so suffocating it forced him out of the car and left a lingering smell as well as colored residue behind.

“Thats Why I Take Lyft,” Suspect Declares

The woman responsible for the majority of the assault against Khadka went on Instagram live to stand by their behavior.  

“And he’s lucky as hell I ain’t have nothing on me on momma’s because if he would have played with me bruh, it would’ve been a whole different story. You’re not about to kick me out of the freeway,” she said.  

“All I did was smack — take his mask off and cough a little bit, but I ain’t even have corona so at the end of the day…okay yeah, I ain’t gon lie, that was disrespectful as f**k,” she admitted. “I’m deada** wrong for that, but it could have been avoided. Period point-blank. It could’ve been avoided. You could’ve just waited and made sure we was safe.” 

“This fucking stupid ass Uber…That’s why I take Lyft!” she added.

She also said she was going to sue Uber, which has already condemned the group’s behavior and banned the rider from the service.

In an act of solidarity, Lyft banned the rider from its app as well. “Although this incident did not involve the Lyft platform, the unacceptable treatment of the driver in this video compelled us to permanently remove the rider from the Lyft community,” the company said. “Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person.”

Crowdfunding Campaign for Driver

As far as Khadka, he has opened up to local reporters about how Uber only offered him $20 to clear his car after the altercation.

The company eventually raised that to $40 and then $120 after much pushback from him.

Still, he said it’s not enough to really make up for the cleaning costs and lost wages from all the hours he has been unable to use his car.

Because of that, supporters have created a GoFundMe campaign for him that has already raised well past its $20,000 goal.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post)(The Guardian) (CBS SF)

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Nike To Clean and Resell Used Sneakers at a Discounted Price

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  • At least 15 Nike retail locations in the U.S. are participating in a new program the company calls “Nike Refurbish,” which is aimed at reducing waste.
  • As part of it, Nike will restore shoes with manufacturing flaws, as well as donated or returned shoes, and resell them at a discounted price.
  • Shoes at the end of their wear will be recycled into Nike Grind materials that are used to construct running tracks, gym floors, playgrounds, other Nike products, and more.

Nike Refurbish

Nike announced a new program on Monday called “Nike Refurbish” that will help boost sustainability and reduce waste.

As part of the program, the brand will take donated and returned shoes that are like new or gently used, as well as shoes with cosmetic manufacturing flaws, then clean and restore them to resell at a discounted price. Returned shoes must have been brought back within Nike’s 60-day return period in order for them to be resold. 

Nike employee restoring an eligible pair of sneakers. Source: Nike

All the refurbished shoes will have labeling on the box with information about their condition grade. Plus, they are also covered under Nike’s 60-day return policy. 

Nike Refurbished Footwear Sustainability Initiative | Well+Good
Source: Nike

Nike’s Recycling Efforts

Nike didn’t say what it previously did with returned sneakers in its announcement, but the new plan is part of its wider attempts to recycle materials.

On its website, it markets the initiative as a way for customers to “help keep shoes out of landfills.” and join Nike’s efforts towards, “Zero carbon and zero waste to help protect the future of sport.” 

Shoes that are truly at the end of their wear will be recycled into Nike Grind materials that are then used for tons of other projects, including running tracks, gym floors, playgrounds, outdoor courts, as well as other Nike apparel and footwear.

Nike Grind | Nike Purpose
Nike Grind material that was used to create an outdoor track. Source: Nike

So far, 15 Nike retail locations across the U.S. are confirmed to be participating in this model, but there are plans in place to expand this list over the course of 2021.

See what others are saying: (FOX Business) (Footwear News) (Miami Herald)

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Uber Sees Record Ride Demand But Doesn’t Have Enough Drivers Available

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  • Demand for Ubers outpaced driver availability in March, according to a Monday statement from Uber.
  • On top of seeing its best-performing month since the beginning of pandemic closures, the company also received more bookings last month than any other month in its entire history.
  • In an attempt to attract more drivers, Uber announced a $250 million, one-time stimulus payment last week to “boost” driver earnings.
  • While Uber said it believes it will turn a profit for 2021, the company could be set back more than $500 million because of a U.K. Supreme Court ruling that gives the country’s drivers minimum wage, holiday pay, and pension.

Uber Posts Record-Setting Growth

Uber announced Monday that its ride requests for the month of March were the highest it has ever recorded in its 12-year history. 

According to a filing with the SEC, last month, the company crossed “a $30 billion annualized Gross Bookings run-rate.” Alongside that, average daily Gross Bookings grew 9% from the previous month. 

Notably, this also marked the company’s best month since March of last year, when pandemic closures began in the U.S.

On top of that, Uber said its delivery business crossed “a $52 billion annualized Gross Bookings run-rate in March, growing more than 150% year-over-year.”

In fact, that demand over the past month was so high that Uber didn’t have enough drivers to meet it.

As vaccination rates increase in the United States, we are observing that consumer demand for Mobility is recovering faster than driver availability, and consumer demand for Delivery continues to exceed courier availability,” the company said.

$250 Million Driver Stimulus

Monday’s filing is in line with another announcement from Uber, which said last week that it is opening up a $250 million driver stimulus to “boost” earnings for drivers. 

“In 2021, there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available to give them—making it a great time to be a driver,” the company said at the time. “We want drivers to take advantage of higher earnings now because this is likely a temporary situation.”

“As the recovery continues, we expect more drivers will be hitting the road, which means that over time earnings will come back to pre-Covid levels.”

Can Uber Become Profitable?

In February, Uber reported $6.8 billion in losses for 2020, and for years, many have questioned if its business model is even profitable at all; however, in this latest filing, Uber said it believes it’ll become profitable by the end of 2021.

That said, last month, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom handed drivers a major win by ruling that they need to be reclassified as “workers,” guaranteeing them minimum wage, holiday pay, and pension. 

While big news, the U.K. classifies “workers” and “employees” separately. As a result, U.K. drivers still aren’t granted full benefits. 

The decision will also likely be a setback for Uber, as Bank of America has estimated that it could cost the company more than $500 million. 

Uber’s Vaccine Access Fund

In other Uber news, the company — along with PayPal and Walgreens — has launched a “Vaccine Access Fund.”

Through that fund, customers can donate money that will be used to help people who normally lack transportation get to their vaccination appointment.

Notably, all three companies have said they’ll donate a joint $11 million. 

That’s on top of the $5 million PayPal previously donated, as well as the 10 million free and discounted rides Uber promised to give in December. 

Uber users are able to donate in-app, and PayPal has launched a donation page on its website.

See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (CNBC) (CNET)

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China Hits Alibaba With $2.8 Billion Antitrust Fine

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  • Chinese regulators slapped Alibaba with a $2.8 billion fine for monopolistic practices on Saturday, which amounts to 4% of the e-commerce mega-giant’s domestic sales.
  • Regulators accused the company of specifically engaging in a policy known as “choose one out of two,” where Alibaba would penalize sellers who also used other platforms to sell their goods.
  • CEO Daniel Zhang believes the company won’t be negatively affected by the fine, which could have been set as high as 10% of all sales.
  • Despite the fine, the company’s stock rose over 6% by Monday’s closing of the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Dominating the Marketplace

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba was hit with a $2.8 billion antitrust fine by Chinese regulators on Saturday for using its dominant position in the market to punish merchants and rivals.

In particular, it engaged in a policy known as “choose one out of two,”  where a seller on Alibaba would be penalized in a variety of ways if they were found to be selling on another platform.

While the $2.8 billion fine seems large, it only accounts for 4% of the company’s domestic sales. The fine could’ve been far worse, as antitrust fines in China can go as high as 10% of the company’s annual sales.

Alibaba has agreed to take the fine, not fight it, and will fully comply with the demands of the regulators. Those demands include three years of “self-examination compliance reports” to ensure the company isn’t engaging in the same practices.

The news comes after the company’s founder, Jack Ma, has been under intense scrutiny from Chinese officials. Ma has not been seen in the public eye for months and his Ant Group, a sister company to Alibaba, is being forced by Chinese regulators as of Monday morning to become a financial holding company; therefore facing much stricter banking regulations.

Clear Sailing From Here

Fortunately for Alibaba, the company has managed to dodge much of the scrutiny Ma faces as he isn’t really involved with the business anymore. Its current leadership also doesn’t think the fine will really affect the company at all. Unlike Ma’s past rhetoric that was dismissive of regulators, CEO Daniel Zhang released a statement on Saturday that struck a conciliatory tone.

“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development,” he said.

Zhang added Monday morning that he doesn’t expect any negative impacts from the situation, which possibly helped Alibaba’s stock to rise sharply from $223 per share to $241 as of Monday’s closing of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where the shares are traded.

There are a plethora of reasons that could explain the stock’s rise just after it was the target of a major antitrust fine, but notably, there doesn’t seem to be any more antitrust fines in the pipeline, leading investors to be confident that the worst is behind the company.

See what others are saying: (Investors) (New York Times) (Wall Street Journal)

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