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)

SuperShuttle drivers at Bay Area airports protest lower fees for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, others

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

SuperShuttle drivers protesting higher fees they have to pay compared to transportation network companies at Bay Area airports did not show up to work Sunday, a company spokesman said.

About 75 percent of the drivers serving the San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport did not report to their job, according to Jim Gleich, senior vice president for the west region of TransDev, a company that owns SuperShuttle.

A majority of their traffic is to SFO, he said. The drivers say they are against the fee structure set up by the SuperShuttle, which has not changed its business model in the past 10 years, Gleich said.

SuperShuttle is comprised of franchisees under the company’s trademark. The shuttles in the Bay Area and the state have to comply with regulations from the California Public Utilities Commission, according to Gleich… (more)


Cab Drivers Gathering License Plate Intel on Uber, Lyft, & SideCar

By Rachel Swan : sfweekly – excerpt

After vehemently contesting a recent media report saying a mass exodus of cab drivers are headed to app-based, car-hire startups, the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association this week decided to make it clear that cabbies are still the victim in this business battle.

Namely, it’s vastly outnumbered. After collecting license plate data from cars bearing the trade dress of a Transportation Network Company (TNC), the association says the ratio of car-hires to cabs is about 3,400 to 1,800 — roughly 2 to 1.

“We’re trying to show these TNCs are a big safety issue in the streets of San Francisco,” SFCDA director Trevor Johnson tells SF Weekly before launching his litany of complaints.

He says companies including Uber and Lyft say they’re creating efficient transportation when in reality, they’re creating traffic snarls. They say they’re being green when they’re really flooding the roads with cars. They say they’re improving safety when they’re really encouraging more people to troll the streets looking at their cell phones… (more)

Tell The PUC To Stop Its Ban On Ride-Sharing Services – excerpt

The political protection nonsense on part of the California Public Utilities Commission is chilling and disgusting. If you recall, the CPUC issued creepy cease-and-desist orders to both Lyft and SideCar, making inane claims regarding both companies not having official carrier permits. However, said companies do not need such permits since the fares are “suggested donations.” So ha. (Uber also had a similar cease-and-desist order placed against it, which has yet to hurt the noted town car service. So double ha, PUC).
Anyway, why don’t you tell the PUC how you feel by signing this petition. San Francisco’s (intentional) cab shortage issue has had a stronghold on the city for years. And car-sharing services have been a breath of minty fresh air. Neither the PUC nor the SFMTA (who will launch its own investigation into the companies, because cabbies are peeved) will take it away from us…
Anyway, why don’t you tell the PUC how you feel by signing this petition. San Francisco’s (intentional) cab shortage issue has had a stranglehold on the city for years. And car-sharing services have been a breath of minty fresh air. Neither the PUC nor the SFMTA (who will launch its own investigation into the companies, because cabbies are peeved) will take it away from us… (more)

How did the PUC get involved? This controversial issue is just heating up. We take no position. The media has widely covered these ride-shares, and the new private parking rentals that are springing up all over town. The PUC stance agaisnt ride-shares will lead to more confusion.
Where is the SFMTA in all of this. They seem all too ready to kill off traditional taxi business by making it too difficult to earn a decent living. Do they also want to kill off all the jobs being generated by ride-shares?
What of the Mayor’s support for info tech? How many ways can you pay the meter, keep track of your hours, hail a cab, or ride-share, or pay your SFMTA ticket? (Is anybody track of the number of apps or who is financing them?) Each ride-share business supports some high tech jobs. Should we throw those out too?
Maybe the SF Bicycle Coalition should offer a bike rider service to take up the slack. Bikers could tote families around on their handlebars they way they do in Amsterdam. Or we could replace the motorized taxis with horse-drawn carriages. More work for people in the street cleaning business. Streets need to remain clear and safe for the self-driving cars.

Lyft, SideCar, Zimride say they will fight cease-and-desist orders to stop services

SFMTA Approves 200 More Taxi Permits To Combat Uber, Sidecar And Lyft – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors on Tuesday approved temporary permits that will allow up to 200 more taxis to operate on the city’s streets.
The three-year permits will be leased directly to taxi companies, increasing the total number of cabs from the 1,535 that are currently authorized to operate full-time, according to SFMTA officials…
Agency officials said that adding more permitted taxis to the city’s streets will curb the use of unregulated cab services such as Uber, Sidecar and Lyft… (more)



New apps make it easier to drive, park in SF

By Jonathan Bloom : ABClocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Getting around San Francisco can be a big headache, whether you’re stuck in traffic or just trying to park. But now, two apps for your mobile phone aim to make your trip around town faster and cheaper…

“KurbKarma is a social network for parking that helps you find parking where and when you need it, in cities like San Francisco,” said Sampat… Just open the free app on your smartphone, and tell it where you need a spot. Other users who have a parking space, but are about to leave can offer you theirs…

The smartphone app finds your location and asks where you’re going. It alerts a nearby driver and if he’s going the same way, he can agree to pick you up…
But SideCar’s getting a lukewarm reception from the San Francisco MTA. They’re concerned it’s an unlicensed taxi service, skirting around all the city’s taxi laws that are designed to keep people safe. SideCar’s CEO insists those laws don’t apply…



Parking Panda helps parking facilities rent spaces to people looking for parking, in unused driveways.

Hail A Fellow Human, Not A Taxi With “SideCar” – The New P2P Uber

By JOSH CONSTINE : – excerpt

You need a ride, someone else has a car and could use the cash, SideCar is the app that will bring you together. New instant peer-to-peer rideshare-finding app SideCar turns anyone into a taxi / Uber driver, and it’s supposedly legal because you technically volunteer to pay at the end. Today it emerges from beta for iOS and Android in its first city, San Francisco…

SideCar is a real-time ridesharing community that connects drivers with spare seats in their car to passengers who need instant rides across the city, via a user-friendly proprietary smartphone technology. It helps drivers because they use their own car and help cover the costs of maintenance – all while meeting people in the city. Meanwhile for passengers it makes it easy to get a ride, cheaper than alternatives, and gives them a unique personal interaction.