Global Rideshare News

Uber driver accused of sex assault in Prince William


An Uber driver is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger over the weekend, according to Prince William County police.

Cristian Yovani Zelda Avalo, 37, of 10223 Ginny Way in Manassas, was arrested Tuesday and charged with object sexual penetration and abduction with intent to defile, police spokesperson Sgt. Jonathan Perok said.

Zelda Avalo, who police identify as an Uber driver, picked up the 22-year-old victim around 3:15 a.m. Saturday in Manassas for a trip to her Woodbridge home. He is accused of holding the victim down in the vehicle while he allegedly sexually assaulted her, Perok said.

The victim texted an acquaintance to meet her at her home and Zelda Avalo left the area after dropping her off, Perok said.

The victim reported the attack Monday.

Man Was Plotting New Year’s Eve Mass Shooting, Police Say

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In a statement to InsideNoVa, an Uber spokesperson said, “This report is appalling and our thoughts are with the rider during this difficult time. The driver has been removed from the app and we’ll work to help police in any way we can with their investigation.”

Zelda Avalo is being held without bond and his court date is pending.

Arlington Turns to Rideshare Service Via for Mass Transit

mass transit


Since 2013, the city of Arlington’s mass transit system was a single bus route that was used mainly by students at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Earlier this month, the Arlington City Council voted to end the route, and replace it with the ridesharing service Via beginning Dec. 11.

D Magazine said Arlington will become the first U.S. city to convert its entire mass transit operation into so-called micro transit.

Arlington long has fought the distinction of being the largest U.S. city — a population of roughly 393,000 — without a public mass transit system. The Metro Arlington Express single bus route system was supposed to change that, but it never drew many riders.

The city hopes its subsidized one-year pilot project with Via will have better results.

Via riders will pay a $3 flat rate and will need to use the Via app to summon a shuttle.
Via will operate up to 10 vans with room for six passengers each that run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, D Magazine reported.

To summon the shared-ride shuttle, riders will need to use the Via app and pay a $3 flat rate for each trip within the service area — the TRE rail station near Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, downtown Arlington, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, and entertainment options in the east-central area of Arlington.

Later, the service area will expand to include the Parks Mall and the University of Texas at Arlington.

It’s a bet the city is making that residents will prefer this to buses and trains, and that they will chose Via over Lyft or Uber.

For now, Via would be Arlington’s only mass transit option.

Earlier this year, however, an outfit called the Alliance for Transportation Innovation showed off a self-driving electric trolley system in the city.

Called EasyMile, the shuttle has a top speed of 25 miles per hour. The Alliance has been traveling the country showing off the $250,000, six-seat vehicles that are supposed to have a capacity of 12 people.

How to avoid rideshare scams

How to avoid rideshare scams
by Vincent Crivelli Friday, November 10th 2017



How to avoid rideshare scams. (WPEC)

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS 12) — Rideshare riders beware. The Better Business Bureau warns scammers are posing as rideshare drivers and tricking travelers out of big bucks at airports across the country.
Every day several passengers fly into Palm Beach International Airport, grab their luggage, then head outside to catch an Uber or Lyft. Now there is a new scam preying on people who use these rideshare apps at airports.
“It’s chaotic, you’re trying to get out of there, there’s a lot of people,” said a Better Business worker.

The BBB says scammers are pretending to work for Uber or Lyft, telling travelers they’re their driver. Then once the passenger gets to their destination the scam driver demands an excessive amount of money.
“The passengers feel like they’re held hostage when they get to their destination… We even hear some cases where the driver would come up to the airport, pick someone up and take their bag, put it on the back-seat doors are locked and then they take off with the luggage,” said the BBB worker.
Several Airports in the US including Fort Lauderdale have specifics zones for rideshare pickup, so security can stay alert. However, PBIA does not. So the BBB says be extra careful.
“Ask the driver when they pick you up, hey who are you picking up and if they can’t support you with the name, don’t get in the car,” said the BBB worker.
We reached out to Uber and Palm Beach International Airport for comment, however they did not get back us before broadcas

Rideshare wars: Lyft takes on Uber in Toronto in first battle outside of U.S.

It’s been a long time coming, but Lyft is finally ready to take its ridesharing service beyond the United States.

The company has chosen the Canadian city of Toronto as its debut market outside of the U.S. as part of ongoing efforts to compete with Uber, its main rival in the ridesharing space.

It will start offering rides in the city from December, though it’s yet to release details on passenger rates and driver fees.

“We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ridesharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north,” Lyft said in a blog post announcing its decision to roll into Canada. It added that its service will be around “to help ring in the holidays, so if you’re in Toronto, just tap to request — ’cause for the first time in TO, we’ve got your ride.”

Lyft’s arrival in Toronto comes more than five years after Uber set up shop there. Uber currently has around 50,000 drivers working the streets of the Canadian city, so Lyft certainly has its work cut out if it’s to make an impact there.

The ridesharing company famous for its now-discarded furry pink mustache will offer its existing services to riders, including regular cars for as many as four passengers, and its Plus service for up to six people. Its Premier service offers high-end cars, while Lux lets you ride in “the most luxurious makes and models with luxury black cars,” according to Lyft’s website. Finally, Lyft Lux SUV is a premium black SUV service with enough space for up to six passengers.

Lyft president and co-founder John Zimmer told the Toronto Star he believes the city shares “the values that we have at Lyft – focusing on people taking care of people, treating people well, treating people with mutual respect, and promoting both inclusion and diversity.”

If Lyft’s first journey out of the U.S. works out well, it could be the beginning of a major expansion as it seeks to grab a chunk of the ridesharing market from Uber. Several reports in recent months have suggested Lyft has already been picking up some business at the expense of its rival, partly due to missteps by Uber that turned some riders off its service. Uber has also been dealing with the loss of its CEO, several company scandals, and various lawsuits targeting its business.

Lyft Could Have One-Third of the U.S. Rideshare Market by Christmas

By David Z. Morris November 12, 2017

Investor projections claim Lyft’s market share has surged in the last year, with the ride-hailing company on track to grab about one-third of the U.S. ridesharing market by the end of the year. That would amount to a major success by Lyft in leveraging a year’s worth of public relations disasters for its much larger rival, Uber.

The documents, shared with and reported by Bloomberg, came from a major Lyft investor and were prepared at the end of the second quarter. They also suggest that Lyft is getting closer to being profitable, though spending to continue growing its market share will likely delay that landmark.

Many observers saw major gains for Lyft as a likely outcome as Uber’s chaotic 2017 unfolded. The pileup began with a boycott over the perception that Uber was undermining a protest of President Donald Trump’s first travel ban. Just weeks later, came a string of sexual harassment and misconduct scandals and executive departures, and then a videotaped hissy fit by then-CEO Travis Kalanick.

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Then Google spinoff Waymo sued Uber, contending Uber’s self-driving car program was founded on stolen technology, and Uber has often seemed to be caught off guard in the suit. Finally, in June, Kalanick stepped down from the CEO role.

It was, in short, one of the worst years on record for a company of Uber’s size. Worse, many of the episodes reinforced the image of Uber as not just a frequent lawbreaker, but as a morally compromised company. Given the ease with which rideshare users can switch apps, it would have been surprising if Lyft didn’t gain substantial ground.

But Lyft leaned into the opportunity, including with high-profile ads reminding users that “It Matters How You Get There.” It showed that Lyft understands what Kalanick may not have — that when the competition is just a click away, public perception matters immensely.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is off to a strong start repairing the damage, but Lyft still has a wide passing lane. Repairing Uber’s reputation will take time, and Lyft is attracting big new investments that may help it claim even more of the U.S. market in the meantime.

Rideshare Startup Via Tapped to Launch First Ever On-Demand Public Transit System as Alternative to Bus Service in Two U.S. Cities

NEW YORKNov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Arlington, Texas and West Sacramento, California have selected Via, the leading technology developer and provider of dynamic on-demand shared rides, to launch a pioneering comprehensive on-demand public transit solution for both cities.

In Arlington, the new Via service will launch within a month, replacing the city’s single-route bus service and offering transportation options in areas of Arlington where none existed before. In West Sacramento, Via is working closely with City staff to design a groundbreaking fully dynamic city-wide service that will complement other public transportation options.

Residents across both cities will soon be able to use the Via app to instantly book a seat in a shared, dynamically-routed vehicle. Via’s sophisticated algorithm will instantly match passengers with others going their way in a vehicle following an optimized flexible route that minimizes detours and delays.

“In the city of the future, everyone will be getting around in dynamically-routed shared vehicles. We are excited to partner with these two innovative cities that share our vision, and help them provide the first ever fully on-demand public transit service,” said Daniel Ramot, Co-founder and CEO of Via.

Via was selected through a competitive procurement process to provide a comprehensive turnkey solution, including its mobile apps and unparalleled operating system. Via will be working closely with the cities to develop and customize every aspect of the services, from operating hours and service zones to fare structure and wheelchair accessibility, and will share data with the cities to help inform future planning and investments.

“The partnership with Via is a reaffirmation of West Sacramento’s commitment to provide residents of all ages with access to an array of transportation options close to where they live, work and play,” said City of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “This initiative will not only save residents money on gas and parking, but will also provide cleaner air, reduce congestion and promote overall livability.”

The new Via services will connect residents to jobs, healthcare, education, and entertainment, while reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road and minimizing congestion and pollution.

“For Arlington, Via’s comprehensive ridesharing service is an exciting and innovative pilot project providing an alternative to a traditional fixed-route bus system, allowing us to provide a higher quality transportation option that is relevant to even more of our residents and visitors,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said.

“If a city wants to launch a new subway service or fixed-route bus system, the investment required would be many millions if not billions of dollars. With Via’s solution, cities can now provide their residents with a city-wide transit system without any of the physical infrastructure costs and with minimal risk,” said Zachary Wasserman, Via’s Head of Global Business Development.

Service in Arlington, Texas will launch in early December following the Arlington City Council approval on November 7. Service in West Sacramento, California is expected to begin operating in the spring of 2018, pending City Council approval in December.

SOURCE Via Transportation, Inc.

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