Lyft and Juno are fighting New York’s controversial new minimum wage rule in court

Logan Green John Zimmer LyftLogan Green (left) and John Zimmer co-founded Lyft.John Zimmer

  • Lyft and Juno, two New York City competitors with Uber, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to block a new minimum wage for drivers that was set to take effect on Friday. 
  • The companies argue the complicated formula that set a pay floor at $17.22 an hour after expenses unfairly benefits Uber. 
  • A judge did not grant the injunction, but directed Lyft and Juno to place funds intended for drivers into an escrow account while the case is pending. 

With 36 hours left before ride-hailing drivers in New York City were set to get a legally mandated minimum wage — a raise, in most cases — Lyft and Juno filed a lawsuit asking the court to delay its implementation.

Their injunction wasn’t granted, but the judge did allow the companies to place the money intended for drivers into an escrow account, essentially a lockbox, while the case is pending.

Following a temporary restraining order granted by a judge on Friday, Lyft said it would be immediately raising driver pay, but still intends to fight the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s approach, which it calls unfair. 

This TRO victory acknowledges that Uber was handed a sweetheart deal by the TLC that would irreparably harm Lyft,” the company said in a statement. “Drivers shouldn’t suffer while we work to right the TLC’s mistakes so we are immediately raising driver pay as we continue our fight in court.”

On Wednesday, Lyft and Juno, two of the smaller ride-hailing competitors in New York, the nation’s largest taxi market, argued that the new minimum wage law that was set to take effect on Friday unfairly benefits Uber.

The $17.22 per hour minimum (after expenses) is set through a formula that uses an industry-wide “utilization rate, which the crux of Lyft and Juno’s argument against the law. For the next 12 months, that rate is 58%. 

Company driver utilization ratesCompany driver utilization rates, based on all rides from the second half of 2017.James A. Parrott and Michael Reich

When that time period is up, companies can petition to use their own utilization rates if they are higher than 58%. According to the study commissioned by the City Council to write the new rules, Lyft’s rate was tied with Uber at 58%, while Juno’s was lower, at 50%.

That’s key, because as the rate increases, it causes the fraction that decides driver pay to decrease. Here’s the formula:

Driver minimum wage formulaJames A. Parrott and Michael Reich

Lyft says that because Uber is by far the dominant player, it can easily raise its utilization rate, and therefore pay drivers less and keep fares low.

“It’s no secret that Uber has tried to put us out of business in the past. They’ve failed repeatedly, and the TLC should not assist them in their efforts,” a company spokesperson said at the time. 

Median net hourly earnings for New York ride-hail driversMedian net hourly earnings for New York ride-hail driversQuartz Atlas

Conversely, Uber says it will not be following Lyft and Juno’s lead to withhold driver pay.

“Judge Andrea Masley offered Uber the chance to join Lyft and Juno in keeping a portion of drivers’ earnings in a lockbox account while their suits moved forward,” it said through a spokesperson. “We decline and notified the Taxi & Limousine Commission and the Court that we do not intend to hold back any portion of drivers’ earnings.”

Juno did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. 

Via, also one of Uber’s smaller competitor in New York City and the only one with a higher utilization rate due to its high percentage of shared rides, said it also supports the new minimum wage rules.

“Via is proud to be the industry leader in driver pay, consistently offering drivers the opportunity to take home the highest earnings in NYC,” it said. “We also believe strongly that holding companies to utilization standards is an important step in reducing congestion causing single-occupancy trips and we support the TLC in this goal.”

New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission said its concerned by the court’s allowing Lyft and Juno to withhold funds from drivers.

“Though we are heartened that the Judge did not issue a TRO,” commissioners and chair Meera Joshi said through a spokesperson.

“We are concerned that by allowing these companies to pay into escrow instead of paying drivers, professional drivers who live from paycheck to paycheck will be deprived of the benefit of their well deserved and long overdue raise.”

The next court hearing is set for March 12, 2019.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Xbox Live is down for the second time in a week

Xbox Black ScreenThis mostly blank screen is what a handful of Xbox One owners saw when they booted up their console on Wednesday afternoon.Xbox/Twitter

  • For the second time this week, a significant number of Xbox Live users are unable to use the service as intended.
  • Players are reporting difficulties logging into Xbox Live and have been left unable to use games and content they’ve already paid for.
  • Xbox Live routinely goes down for maintenance, but it’s rarely down unexpectedly, let alone twice in a week.

Microsoft is working to repair Xbox Live core services for the second time in a week as users report being unable to sign-in or access content they’ve already paid for.

On Wednesday, multiple Xbox users reported seeing an all-black screen when they booted up their consoles, leading some to believe their video game system was broken. Today’s issues seem to be limited to logging in to the service, and Microsoft has not commented on whether the two outages are related.

On Twitter, Xbox support staff said they were investigating the problems once again.

Xbox Live is a necessity for playing Xbox games online, and some games require a connection to Xbox Live to be played at all. Live is also essential for several non-gaming apps, like Netflix and Twitch.

Read more: Xbox Live went down, and the outage nearly convinced gamers that their consoles were broken

Xbox Live undergoes regular maintenance but is rarely down unexpectedly. Most outages last a few hours; Xbox Live’s longest outage, during the 2007-08 holiday season, lasted 11 days. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for further comment on the situation.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Here are all the smartphone leaks we saw in January, from Samsung's Galaxy S10 to Apple's iPhone XS successor

technology addiction teens video games smartphones psychologistSantiago Bluguermann/Getty

  • January was a huge month for smartphone leaks.
  • Thanks to some prominent leakers, we got early looks at Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup and even Apple’s next iPhone.
  • We’ve compiled all of the alleged leaks we saw from January 2019 below.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

A major video game publisher quickly apologized after joking about the longest government shutdown in U.S. history

The Division 2Ubisoft

  • Ubisoft, creator of the upcoming video game “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2,” has issued an apology after a mass marketing email invited players to “see what a real government shutdown looks like.”
  • “The Division 2” is set in a dystopian future in which the U.S. government has been crippled by a terror attack.
  • The email comparing the game to the government shutdown was meant to invite players to try “The Division 2” during a private test. The game is set to be released on March 15, 2019.

The creators of the upcoming video game “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2” have apologized for an email that made light of the U.S. government shutdown that ended a week ago.

On Thursday, Ubisoft sent out a mass email inviting players to try “The Division 2” during a closed test run later later this month; the email’s subject line read, “Come see what a real government shutdown looks like in the private beta.”

The Division 2 EmailUbisoft sent this email out during the afternoon of January 31st.Ubisoft

Last Friday marked the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S history after 35 days. During that period about 800,000 federal employees went without pay. Roughly 420,000 of those unpaid employees were still required to work, with many taking extended shifts due to a reduced work force.

“The Division 2” is set in a dystopian future in which the U.S. government has been crippled by a terror attack. While the first game took place in Manhattan, the second game moves the setting to Washington D.C. The story focuses on a band of freedom fighters working to liberate the U.S. capitol from violent mercenary factions; Ubisoft developers have denied taking political stances with the game.

A few hours after their shutdown message went out, Ubisoft sent a follow-up email apologizing for making light of the situation. The company said there was a “grave breakdown” in their process for promotions and called the shutdown comparison offensive.

The Division UbisoftUbisoft issued their apology about 4 hours after sending their first email about the private beta.Ubisoft

Ubisoft will still host the planned beta test for early buyers of “The Division 2” from February 7 to 11th. “The Division 2” will launch in full on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15th.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

British Airways just turned 100 years old. Here's what it's like to fly in its international economy class.

British Airways 777-200 at London GatwickA British Airways Boeing 777.British Airways

  • British Airways is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The century-old airline’s forerunner, Air Transport and Travel Limited, commenced daily international flights in August 1919. 
  • Last year, I flew in British Airways’ “World Traveler” economy-class cabin from London to New York to see what the experience was like.
  • With dozens of flights a day operated by several major airlines, the New York-London route is a high-traffic, competitive route.
  • British Airways, together with its joint venture partner American Airlines, is one of the highest-profile operators between the two major financial markets and vacation destinations.

British Airways is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. While the modern iteration of the airline was formed in 1974 with the merger of British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, the airline’s forerunner Air Transport and Travel Limited, commenced daily international flights in August 1919. 

Last year, I flew in British Airways’ “World Traveler” economy-class cabin from London to New York to see what the experience was like.

When flying between the US and the UK, there is a gluttony of options available. Airlines representing the three major alliances (Oneworld, Star Alliance, and Sky Team) operate multiple flights a day between major cities, with some cities seeing dozens of flights a day.

The New York City–London route, one of the busiest in the world, sees around 30 commercial flights in each direction on an average weekday flown by US airlines including Delta, United, and American, and foreign carriers including the expected, like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and the less expected, such as Norwegian Air Shuttle and Air India.

Read more: I flew in economy class on one of American Airlines’ busiest international routes — here’s what it was like.

Among the many choices, though, the most prolific operators of the high-traffic route are arguably American Airlines and British Airways, with around 15 flights per day in each direction. Operating an antitrust-indemnified joint venture across the Atlantic (along with Spanish carrier Iberia), the two airlines operate virtually as one between the two cities.

When you search for flights between London and New York on either airline’s website, you’ll see flights operated by both carriers, virtually indistinguishable from each other on the results page.

That’s how, after booking steeply discounted tickets through a British Airways flash sale, I found myself with a round trip between New York and London featuring both airlines.

Read more: We flew Aer Lingus from Dublin to New York to see if it’s a hidden gem among Europe’s best airlines. Here’s the verdict.

My outbound flight was operated by American Airlines, and was an all-around pleasant trip, while my return was with British Airways departing from London’s Gatwick airport.

I last few British Airways a few years ago on a 747-400 from London Heathrow, so I didn’t have any real expectations — although I knew that the airline had just rolled out some awesome new catering on its long-haul flights.

Read on to see what I thought of my flight on British Airways, departing from London Gatwick at 4:55 p.m. for New York’s JFK airport, operated by a 777-200.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source