If your taxi driver seems a little cranky on the road these days, just know it’s not you, it’s Lyft. Tomorrow, a crew of cabbies is planning a lunchtime protest to show their utter disdain with San Francisco’s ridesharing companies, including Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar. Specifically, the group is miffed with the status quos which lets these ridesharing services “sidestep regulations” to which taxis are forced to adhere.
According to The United Taxicab Workers:
We are protesting the blatant disregard of taxi and other passenger transportation laws by companies that are using creative language to sidestep regulations. This is devastating the legal taxi industry and putting the public at risk. These so called “Rideshare” services such as Lyft, UberX and Sidecar, are nothing more than unlicensed “bandit cabs” with smartphone applications, a Facebook account, and sometimes a pink mustache. California Public Utilities Code §5353(h) specifies among other things, that “ridesharing”cannot be for profit, yet all of these companies recruit drivers with the promise of making $35 to $50 an hour.
These illegal taxi services falsely claim that as “ridesharing” they and their drivers are exempt from regulatory accountability, including vehicle inspections, driver qualifications and insurance requirements. By giving them his blessing, Mayor Ed Lee is ignoring a clear public safety hazard.
Indie Cab Drivers Need Show Of Numbers…
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has usurped rights to medallions (i.e. cab permits issued by the City). MTA has announced the cancellation of the medallion waiting list system effectively shutting out cab drivers who in San Francisco are forced to operate as independent businesses, but who are subject to restrictions and regulations unheard of in other industries including double taxation
Under Prop K taxi medallions were non-transferable. They were issued exclusively to cab drivers who put their names on a waiting list. For cabbies medallion ownership brings significant advantages including choice of company to work for, shift scheduling and increased income (non-medallion cab driver income in San Francisco is approximately $20,000 a year including tips). Prop K allowed drivers who could never have afforded the purchase of a medallion to obtain one and to thereby have their own stake in the taxi industry. For the public this type of medallion system means a more experienced workforce, driving safer vehicles
Currently about 1,400 drivers are on the medallion waiting list. Drivers like San Francisco native Iza Pardiñas, one of very few women cabbies in the City, have waited 16 years or more for a medallion (she is #246 on the list). Like Pardiñas, most drivers have little or no savings and cannot afford to buy medallions which now cost $300,000 per an MTA ruling in August (and will soon be sold for $400,000 or more)… (more)
Cab driver advocate Mark Gruberg and SF cab driver Iza Pardiñas are available for interviews, please contact Fly PR for details: T. 323-667-1344 E. email@example.com
By Coburn Palmer :sfweekly.com/thesnitch – excerpt
It was an unusual sight outside City Hall today — empty cabs and lots of them!
If you’ve visited San Francisco for even a few hours on a Saturday night, then you already know how irksome it is to try and track down a taxi. Well, driving a taxi is no walk in the park either. Cabbies gathered today outside City Hall to honk away their own frustrations about the most controversial issue plaguing that community: taxi medallions.
The drivers’ complaints specifically target the SFMTA’s policy of selling permits, also known as medallions, for $300,000, on top of charging drivers to process credit cards from fares. In addition, the SFMTA is ignoring the recommendations of the Taxi Advisory Council, drivers claim… (more)