by Bay City News – excerpt
Ridesharing companies that are growing in popularity in San Francisco have had unintended consequences and need to be better regulated, city supervisors were told today at a committee meeting on the issue.
Supervisor Eric Mar called for today’s hearing on businesses like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, which match riders to private cars via GPS-based smartphone apps and are defined by the California Public Utilities Commission as “transportation network companies.”
The companies have drawn increased attention from the city after an Uber driver struck and killed 6-year-old Sofia Liu on Polk Street on New Year’s Eve. They have also been sharply criticized by taxi drivers for operating under looser regulations than those required for cab companies and.
Christiane Hayashi, director of taxis and accessibility services for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said the TNCs require less comprehensive background checks than those for taxi drivers and do not provide cities with the number of cars they have out on the streets.
“It’s really starting to be a free-for-all out there,” Hayashi said. “So many vehicles are competing for business that it’s beginning to get quite dangerous.”… (more)