Taxi Drivers Say SFO Lets Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar Break Airport Rules

By Jeremy Lybarger : sfweekly – excerpt
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday, The San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance (SFTWA), SF Yellow Cab, and Luxor Cab came out swinging against ride-hail apps at SFO.

“Cab companies are not against innovation. We love innovation. What [ride-hail companies] brought to the table is great. What they’re trying to attempt to do is good. We’ve learned from it, too. We have apps,” said Jim Gillespie, President and General Manager of Yellow Cab.

The issue, Gillespie said, is public safety.

Taxis in San Francisco undergo annual vehicle inspections by licensed mechanics, and cab drivers must pass Live Scan background checks and complete taxi and sensitivity training courses.

Ride-hail companies, by contrast, inspect their own vehicles, and the background checks their drivers receive are reportedly so perfunctory that last week San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon filed an amended complaint against Uber, alleging, “We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks. They have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murderer.”

Also at issue, according to taxi drivers, are rampant violations on the part of ride-hail drivers at SFO.

Ride-hail drivers are supposed to wait in the airport’s cell phone lot until a passenger pings them for pick-up, but according to taxi drivers, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hail companies “troll” the terminal loops and idle curbside, waiting to be hailed. And although SFO claims to have issued $200,000 in citations against ride-hail violators, taxi drivers say the rules are loosely enforced.

To support their point, taxi drivers filmed ride-hail violators at SFO in June. Their video shows apparently empty Uber and Lyft drivers circling the terminals and parking curbside. (The video suggests that while Uber has since updated its app to default to drivers legally parked in the cell phone lot, Lyft and Sidecar have not.)

Stanley Roberts also got in on exposing Uber “cheats” during a “People Behaving Badly” segment last month… (more)

“There just doesn’t seem to be balance in enforcement,” said an independent consultant who works with Yellow Cab… (more)

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