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Uber Sued By Parents of Six-Year-Old Killed On New Year's Eve

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 27 2014

A New Year Eve's accident that killed a six-year-old in San Francisco is reviving the debate over ride-sharing and insurance

The parents of the six-year-old girl who was killed on New Year's Eve by a driver who was using UberX to find rides filed suit against the company on Monday. The family's lawyer Christopher Dolan said that this is the first wrongful death lawsuit filed against Uber. The local tragedy registered as a blip on the national radar news screen because it involved the white hot urban transportation provider Uber, which with its $361. 2 million in venture capital funding late last summer, is poised to transform urban transportation as we currently know it. Its flagship service is a mobile on-demand limo service that enables commercially insured town cars to find nearby hails with the app. It also operates UberX, a lower-cost peer-to-peer ride-sharing service in 24 cities and states in the United States. UberX is one of several mobile services that connects drivers with their own cars to people who need to get around town, sets and processes payments, and takes a 20 percent cut of the transactions. The insurance status of this arrangement isn’t as clear-cut, and the New Year’s Eve accident brings back into sharp focus the still fuzzy question of who should be held financially liable when there’s no designated central company entrusted with all the traditional legal and financial obligations of a commercial taxi service. Read More

How to Lose Funds and Infuriate Users: Couchsurfing, a Cautionary Tale From the "Sharing Economy"

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, November 7 2013

Embroidered Couchsurfing SpongeBob, by Courtney Leigh, 2010 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/courtney-leigh/5136501557/)

Couchsurfing is a global travel network founded in 2004. It claims six million adventurous travelers and hospitable hosts, together envisioning “a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection.” But on October 10, the company cut that connection with 40 percent of its staff, and its CEO Tony Espinoza, who just took over the company 18 months ago, announced he was stepping down. Adding to its trouble, according to TechCrunch, is the fact that the company, which has raised over $22 million since becoming a for-profit more than two years ago, is burning through $800,000 a month. How did the once-successful community platform go south? Read More

GoLoco: A New Way of Doing Movement Politics

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 6 2007

Looking to build a "people's movement"? Like to hang with "fellow travelers"? Or are you a campaign field organizer looking for an easy-to-use online tool to help supporters and volunteers share car rides to events? Then ... Read More