Mustache Disguise Kit: Rideshare Vehicles Move Undetected Through the City

By Rachel Swan : sfweekly – excerpt

Last Thursday, a Lyft driver squired two women to a Mission District dive, violating at least three rules in the process. “You guys care if I keep this in the back seat?” he asked, dangling the telltale pink mustache that’s supposed to hang from the grille of every Lyft car. Other violations included driving straight ahead from a right-hand turn lane, or when he forgot to fist-bump the passengers, disregarding what local legend says is a mandatory company salutation…
But that’s only one in a litany of fears that the SFMTA presented, two weeks shy of the Sept. 5 date to codify rules for rideshare enterprises (now called Transportation Network Companies)…
With secrecy and selectivity in their systems, rideshares have little incentive to serve the public interest, SFMTA director Edward Reiskin writes in the filing. He and other transit authorities believe that these companies won’t co-exist peacefully with taxis until both groups are held to the same standards…
Yet even those proposed amendments won’t level the playing field. Because start-ups are regulated by the state, rather than by individual cities, they’re not burdened by municipal boundaries. A taxi driver taking someone from San Francisco to Oakland can’t pick up a hail on the way back; a Lyft driver can. To SFMTA Director of Taxis and Accessible Services Christiane Hayashi, that disparity alone makes the whole system unfair.
“Whether or not you put a moral overlay on it,” she writes, “the hard economic fact is that it is driving the professional drivers out of the industry.”… (more)

RELATED:
Lyft Sued for Unfair Competition and Labor Violations (Update)
Lyft’s response: “The lawsuit is without merit and we look forward to resolving it quickly and effectively.”…
The rideshare battles that took place outside City Hall a few weeks ago have now moved, unequivocally, into San Francisco district court…
Now it’s for courts to decide whether that business model truly serves the public interest… (more)