Uber car
An Uber car drives in San Francisco. In April, SFO issued cease-and-desist letters to ride-share companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber. (Adam Fagen/Flickr)

(Bay City News Service) In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from ride-share companies, enabled by mobile apps, that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said.

Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesman, said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to “various offenders” since July 10.

In April, the airport had issued cease-and-desist letters to several ride-share companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.

Since then, Yakel said, airport officials, in conjunction with airport police, had been “admonishing” drivers that came to the airport.

Yakel said the companies are not permitted to offer their services at SFO, and they are now being arrested for unlawful trespassing.

The state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates and licenses passenger carriers, has been looking into how to regulate these new types of companies.

An evaluation of ride-sharing services will come to the commission sometime this week after being mulled since the beginning of the year, CPUC spokesman Chris Chow said.

Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to “keep taxis regulated and safe,” and are calling for the end of ride-sharing services.

The taxi group, comprised of members from the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and the United Taxicab Workers of San Francisco, are demanding that city officials and regulatory agencies consider ride-share companies as illegal taxi services.

The protesters claim that the drivers are exempt from regulation, vehicle inspections, and insurance and driver requirements.

They are calling the growing practice a “clear public safety hazard.”

Dean Clark, a former taxi driver for nearly a decade, said authorities should not be targeting the ride-share drivers but rather the companies.

He said the drivers are simply offering rides to people for a donation, and that unlike what the taxi industry claims, many of the drivers are working students, semi-retired people and single parents.

Clark said the pickup area is taxi domain because there is a pickup fee, and ride-share drivers know and respect that.

He said ride-share drivers should be allowed to drop off customers at the airport without being “harassed” by airport officials.

Representatives from Lyft and Sidecar were not available this afternoon, and an Uber representative declined comment.

  • Jason

    I agree completely with Dean Clark.

  • Kishore Hari

    When I think of SF Taxicabs, safety and customer service are the first two things that come to mind….yeah right. Their rally at city hall is a joke. They are just fighting back against innovation rather than focusing on making their product better.

    • yumtacos

      There is nothing stopping taxicab drivers from signing up to take riders from these services, is there? I mean, on the services’ terms.

  • Jason Thorpe

    Wait, what? Does this only apply to the driven-by-random-whoever services? I don’t see how it could possibly apply to the Uber black car service… I mean, those cars are regularly licensed limousine / town car services that use Uber as a rendezvous mechanism. How is that different than calling a town car service on the phone? How can SFO tell the difference – one black-car-with-a-TCP-number vs. another black-car-with-a-TCP-number? (Personally, when I use Uber I only use the black car service because I like knowing that I’m being driven around by a *professional* driver.)

  • Michael Lopes

    You have to understand that SFO means really BIG MONEY, that can be chiseled away by any ground transporter that doesn’t pay its pound of flesh. Commercial vehicles play a fee by electronic transponder each time they go onto the SFO ramp. If you don’t understand that SFO is a BIG MONEY maker, then you won’t understand why SFPD, Airport Bureau, was established with arrest powers to enforce SFOs monopoly.

  • Eric

    Anyone who thinks Uber or Lyft is less safe than a San Francisco taxicab is either mentally incompetent, corrupt, or both. Every Uber and Lyft I’ve used has been clean inside and out and its driver has been safe and courteous — the complete opposite of my experiences with SF taxicabs. Free market competition is providing safe, reliable, and friendly transportation. The taxi companies and taxi drivers’ union would rather lobby CPUC’s clueless regulators to screw the consumer, rather than compete fairly. Any CPUC bureaucrat who supports the taxi cartel should be fired for acting against the public interest. Only if and when Uber and Lyft drive as recklessly as SF taxicabs should CPUC even begin to consider drafting regulations for them.

  • James D

    Well, a big Sieg heil mein fuhrer going out to the pigs that manage SFO and their reject wannabe cops for learning how to goosestep and chew bubble gum… However not at the same time; they tend to fall down when attempting to think about more than one thing at once…

  • James D

    The predatory behavior of the taxi services in the SF bay area, along with the corrupt officials at SFO and the SFPD just has that fuzzy mafia kind of feeling…

  • alxkpc

    That’s ridiculous! Arresting them!? For what!? If there are no clear regulations than the lawmakers should get on it, that’s their job. But why should we be arresting them, they aren’t doing ANYTHING wrong. And taxi services aren’t that safe. I laughed when I read that the taxi people were protesting to keep service safe, I have been in many taxis and most the rides were over price and not that enjoyable and even more than once I suspected the driver to be not totally sober.

  • cloaky sniper raven

    Most Über drivers are former or even present taxi drivers. This is stupid.

  • ByThePeo.pl

    The discussion of the SFO/rideshare companies issue and what to do about it is posted on ByThePeo.pl

    This platform allows us to focus our concerns and beliefs to actually fix the problem rather than just ranting about it.

    Come give your support to the issue by working with others to contribute your knowledge and let SFO know that you will be taking action as part of the Aug. 9th -11th SFO rideshare usage civil disobedience that is currently scheduled.

  • Happeh

    How can you arrest someone for dropping a person off at the airport?

    When exactly does this farce all end and they just go ahead and rename US law enforcement as “The Gestapo”?

  • Dean Clark

    San Francisco Cab Companies claim to have proper insurance. I worked for National Cab Company and they did not have uninsured motorist coverage. Read about this important case at: http://www.sanfranciscotaxidrivers.com

  • Bob Fry

    SFO should be arresting incompetent pilots for manslaughter and negligent homicide, not drivers providing a valuable service.

  • Frisco kid

    Ride share company’s don’t do criminal background checks so that means you might get picked up by your local rapest or even your friendly cereal killer and after that happens don’t forget to get your fist pump. These ride share company’s don’t care about the drivers they just want there 20% if the drivers crashes and hurts or kills someone there family or spouse child or anyone els who loves them it will be at the fault and responsibility of the driver and only the driver because of the waver the driver signs the company will act like they don’t even know them after that at least when you jump in a cab you know for sure there watched over and if anything happens at least you get more than a fist pump

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