Introducing ‘Shifting Gears’: Business Insider’s weekly transportation newsletter

A Tesla Model S at the Nürburgring race track

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A Tesla Model S at the Nürburgring race track
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Reuters

Welcome to “Shifting Gears,” Business Insider’s first transportation-focused newsletter

In this weekly digest, we’ll be highlighting the latest developments on everything from Uber and Lyft’s battle to turn a profit, Tesla and its eccentric CEO Elon Musk, Boeing’s 737 Max crisis, and more.

But we also want to hear from you. What stories are we missing? Let me know at grapier@businessinsider.com

Sign up for Business Insider’s transportation newsletter, Shifting Gears, to get more stories like this in your inbox.

Here’s what happened this week:


There’s light at the end of the tunnel for Amtrak

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An Amtrak assistant conductor stands at the coach door of a train stopped to pick up and discharge passengers at the railroad station in Lamy, New Mexico, near Santa Fe. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, which transports passengers between Chicago and Los Angeles, makes daily stops at the small Lamy station.
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Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The railroad reported another year of record ridership for fiscal year 2019 on Friday.

Amtrak’s executives told reporters that they expect to turn a profit next year, ahead of schedule, thanks to investments in upgraded amenities and better service on popular routes like the Northeast Corridor. (Yes, you just read “Amtrak” and “ahead of schedule” in the same story.)


It’s Elon Musk versus the Tesla detractors again

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Elon Musk.
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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Image

The eccentric chief executive once again sparred with billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn on Twitter last week, inviting him to tour Tesla’s factories and offering sympathy for recent hardships at his Greenlight Capital. Musk also accused Einhorn of publishing “numerous false allegations against Tesla” in a recent letter to investors.

In response, Einhorn took Musk up on his tour offer, saying that he “might learn the difference between your alien dreadnought factory and cars made by hand in a tent.”

For context, Tesla reported better-than-expected third-quarter results the week before last, sending shares soaring by 20%.

In other Tesla news, the company is switching from Salesforce’s sales software to a custom-made, in-house CRM, Business Insider’s Mark Matousek reported.


Boeing’s 737 Max crisis drags on

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Dennis Muilenburg testifies before the House
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Reuters

A near crash during a simulated flight in June using the software fix Boeing designed for the 737 Max led to the extensive delay that has kept the plane grounded for months, according to a new Bloomberg report.

That news comes after CEO Dennis Muilenburg was grilled by members of Congress over Boeing’s safety practices and the company’s relationship with government regulators. He later said he would not take a bonus until after the plane returns to the skies.

Airlines, meanwhile, continue to remove the 737 Max from their schedules with no approval in sight.


Uber’s Arizona headache

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National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators examine a self-driving Uber vehicle involved in a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona, U.S., March 20, 2018.
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National Transportation Safety Board/Handout via REUTERS

The NTSB will meet to determine the probable cause of the death of a pedestrian struck by an Uber self-driving car near Phoenix, Arizona. Ahead of the meeting, the safety regulator released a trove of documents that outline its investigation.

Those revelations include the fact that Uber’s vehicles were involved 37 other crashes before the pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, was killed. They also outline previously unknown facts about Uber’s team of vehicle testers, their routines, policies, and sometimes grueling sleep schedules.


Truckers are sounding the holiday alarm

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Leaders of the $800 billion trucking industry are blaming their woes on an industrial recession – one that’s being kicked off by President Donald Trump’s trade war – and warning it could lead to a bleak holiday season.

UPS and FedEx, meanwhile, are scrambling to hire more than 150,000 workers for the holiday season, citing online shopping as a key catalyst to the uptick.


Everything else