Your Next Uber Could Be The Bus
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Your Next Uber Could Be The Bus

The cost of rides might be pushing some to more economical transportation.

By Laura Forman
Mon, May 23, 2022 3:24pmGrey Clock 2 min

People are thinking twice before opening that ride-share app on their smartphones.

The practice isn’t going anywhere, but the slow pace at which ride volumes have recovered from their pandemic depths is the latest sign the industry might not become as pervasive as once hoped. As dreams of world domination fade and investors watch the bottom line, the cost of that ride might be pushing some potential customers to more economical forms of transportation.

Lately, market leader Uber Technologies has moved beyond the service that made its name a verb. According to its 2022 investor day deck, Uber is in 72 countries. It added Eats to deliver food, and then expanded that to include convenience, alcohol, diapers and much more. It is now adding taxi partnerships and travel, among other things. Soon, you will be able to hail your own private party bus.

These additions are outwardly pitched as a way for Uber to aggressively build a super app from a position of strength. They are arguably just as defensive. If investors once wanted quantity, they now want quality. As Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi wrote recently in an internal email: “In times of uncertainty, investors look for safety…we need to show them the money.”

The economics of ride-hailing have changed. Platforms like Uber and Lyft for years grew through subsidizing the cost of rides to win market share from other forms of transportation, as well as from one another. Between 2016 and 2021, Uber burned an average of nearly $3 billion annually.

But with investors now focused on pocketing cash rather than splashing it around, broad subsidies are no longer a winning strategy. And that discipline comes at a time of rising costs. Labour laws, competition and a surge in vehicle and pump prices have meant ride-share drivers need to be paid more. The combination of those costs and investors’ demands for profit and cash flow means postpandemic ride-hailing may never be as affordable as it used to be.

Nationally, average ride-hailing pricing in April was already up nearly 39% from where it was at the same time in 2019, YipitData shows. Some of that has to do with longer rides consumers are now taking. But even on a per kilometre basis, pricing was up over 27%. In sprawling Phoenix and Atlanta, per mile pricing for Uber and Lyft combined was up around 40% and 50% on average, respectively.

The pandemic may be waning, spurring more tourist and commuting demand, but consumers are likely to consider cheaper options amid rising rates and prices for other goods and services. And pricing could get even richer. Facing a driver shortage, Lyft might need to compensate with higher rider rates to compete. Meanwhile, if Uber continues to push for aggressive growth in food delivery and other noncore businesses, then someone has to shoulder that tab.

Ride hailers set out to free us from car ownership and provide us with more convenience and comfort than other available transportation options. What if the future of ride-share is…the bus?



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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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