“Ride-share” companies like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar, may be here to stay — if they follow a new set of rules proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission. The CPUC may require the companies to more strictly regulate drivers, who have been accused by cab drivers of operating as illegal “gypsy cabs.” We discuss the issue.

Marzia Zafar, director of the Policy and Planning Division of the California Public Utilities Commission
Sunil Paul, co-founder and CEO of SideCar Technologies, a rideshare community with operations in San Francisco and Seattle
Christiane Hayashi, deputy director of taxis at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency



  • leftoversright

    I would hail a taxi at Kearny and Pine in the Financial District of S.F. to get home to pick up my daughter in the late 80’s and the early 90’s. The taxi picked me up and drove through the intersection and as soon as I gave the driver my drop off, he would tell me to ‘GETOUT” and actually come around and open the door. If only I’d had a cell phone! Taxis need to compete. They have dug their hole and now must find a way out! And not by squashing the competition. Most people I talk to hate taxis. (they have for years squandered their reputation) Call in advance, means nothing. They have no regard for anyone except themselves.

    • jamiebronson

      What he did was illegal. You should have taken a picture of the medallion and turned him in.

      • leftoversright

        I stopped taking cabs. This was before cell phones! But I know from talking to folks that it still happens. Perhaps the taxi commission and the MTA would consider allowing TNC’s to serve the western part of the city. Talk about cherry-picking.

    • pascale68

      “Call in advance, means nothing.” Very true. I live in Glen Park and on 2 separate occasions I called a day in advance for a cab to the airport and both times no cab ever arrived. When I called the cab company they told me that they put out a call that someone needs a cab, but there is no guarantee that anyone will come, because that is the way the rules are set up. The cab drives fight for this right, so they don’t have to go too far out of their way if they don’t want to. How can they complain that these other private services exist???

    • AT least with TNC’s such as Sidecar they know where you want to go ahead of time and when they take the call you’ve got a guarantee that they’ll get you there. You don’t have to cross your fingers and pray they’ll show up.

  • David Schneider

    While the glass 1/2 full or empty analysis may be useful the fact is that I personally met with then Mayor Willie Brown in May of 1997 proposing centralized gps taxi dispatch to which he agreed but did nothing. Later Newsom gave it lip service. Now these proposed state P.U.C. rules legitimize bandit flashy yuppy venture capital companies and I have never seen one pink mustache pick up at a Safeway or serve the people at General Hospital. Supposedly the SFMTA is about to implement a centralized taxi app. The overall political record seems to be lip service while real workers like full time taxi drivers who often drive 36,000 miles a year and carrying between 6,000 and 9,000 passengers get screwed both by politicians and venture yuppy pretty boy venture capitalists who exploit other people’s labor … .

    • jamiebronson

      And it’s rare that a Taxi will show up at my house in outer Richmond within 2 hours of calling them. Were protecting people who are essentially put the shoes on horses. Evolve or die

      • Mike M

        Use Flywheel or Taxi Magic.

        • jamiebronson

          I use Uber. Same idea.

    • leftoversright

      TNC’s are not allowed to pick-up randomly. If someone from SFGH or Safeway calls they will get picked up.

    • Pontifikate

      David is right. I’ve been writing to mayors and supervisors since I moved here and discovered the deal with cabs and dispatch services (or non services). The solution was simple. Central dispatch with GPS in every taxi, calls taken in order and dispatched with alacrity to nearest cab. The taxi drivers, to the extent that they wanted such a system, have been screwed, but so has the SF resident, (the non-tourist) who may not have a smart phone and wants reliable service.

    • I get calls all the time from Sidecar riders who want me to pick up their Mom who’s disabled and I never have a problem. I’ve got enough room in the trunk for their wheelchair and get them to where they’re going. I pick people up at stores all the time and have plenty of room to fit their groceries. I’ve even helped them unload and carry them up to their house when I can park.

      I also don’t have a problem picking people up in the outer Richmond and Sunset unlike most cabbies and I don’t run red lights or drive like a maniac to turn over the ride as fast as possible with no care given to the passenger.

  • Abby

    The “safe vehicles” and “screened drivers” comment really makes me laugh. I have felt much less safe in taxis than in Lyft — taxi drivers tend to be much less cautious (speeding, running lights, cutting off other drivers), and I’ve been personally harassed by a taxi driver but never had a bad experience with a Lyft driver. Maybe driving one’s own car and having a personal stake is a good thing for consumers.

    • Lawrence

      I want a pet-share service, where I can go and be with “my” cat for a few hours from time to time, which is really someone else’s cat.
      But I expect all the maintenance and regulations to be followed: spaying, kitty litter cleanup, shots etc. If “my” cat gets rabies I want that dealt with professionally. If “my” cat has a disease, I don’t want to get sick from it.
      I suppose for an informal taxi service it ought to be the same. If the driver has a rabid dislike for some kinds of clients or for bicyclists then they should be blocked from taking part. If the driver has a disease e.g. tobacco addiction I don’t want to get cancer from his smoking.

  • Allen Corona

    some of these services allow you to pay with a credit card. There have been times when I have flagged a taxi and they say that they don’t. I thought it was required by law to pay with CC?

    • Mike M

      Taxis in SF are required to accept credit cards. You can use Flywheel and Taxi Magic to do exactly the same thing as these unregulated companies are doing, but with a licensed taxi.

      • Ren

        Not in my case, I can tell you right now that 98% of the time, the CC machine is “BROKEN”, imagine that.

        • Will Ng

          Interestingly if you mention you will call 311 to report the incident. The machine works again.

    • Patrick

      Not only do they all require credit cards, there is not transaction in the cars. You tie a credit card towards your account and once the ride is finished, the passenger will get a popup with a price they’d like to pay for the ride automatically.

  • Sarah Wilcox

    Please clarify who pays Christiane Hayashi’s salary? I took her to be a spokesperson for the cab lobby, but I see she works for the SF MTA.

    • leftoversright

      If you noticed she is deputy director of taxis at the MTA. Enough said!

      • Sarah Wilcox

        She seems very aggressive given the mayor’s openness to other new economy businesses. I know the taxi cos have historically made themselves important to elected officials… but she seemed over the top.

    • Mike M

      She is really passionate about taxi regulations and attempting to salvage the taxi system SF relies on. Not only do people who don’t use the rouge apps, but the disabled and tourists rely on the system to get around. She’s trying to do her job.

      • No_Slack_Jack

        Glad to hear she’s passionate. Too bad none of passion, performance, success, nor progress are synonymous. More too bad is that she seems to have focused too much on the passion part of regulations — it would be SOOO bad if she actually carried a badge!

  • $11165038

    If customers decide they want a different sort of driving service to get around the Bay Area, it is their choice. The taxi companies can scream about it all they want but if they were delivering a service customers were happy with, Lyft & Uber wouldn’t even been able to get off the ground. If the Taxi companies are upset, they need to rethink their business plan to compete, not use regulation to keep the status quo.

    • Mike M

      Why are we afraid of regulations? It calls for the companies to act responsibly… Drive now with your driver, and you’ll find that he has only personal coverage for his vehicle. The vehicle only has been inspected to see if it looks pretty. He/She hasn’t been fingerprinted for a national background check and the mustache is something anyone can obtain to impostor a driver.Its actually really bad at this point.

  • Hetta C.

    Summary: cab companies and drivers want to keep out their competition. Consumers are tired of a terrible service and thrilled to have an alternative that better meets their needs.

    I can’t believe this is even a conversation. Put in whatever public health regs we need to feel safe and let it roll.

    • Ragazzu

      It’s a conversation because you are not insured when you ride with these amateurs. Read the rights you’ve signed away when you clicked the terms of agreement. The next time you step into a 2000 Hyundai with a pink mustache and no license plates, think really hard. The cabs you see on the street are inspected every day, and the drivers are on file with the city.

      If anything happens, you and your attorney get to fight a mega-rich corporation that brags about avoiding safety regulations. (I wonder who you’ll call to transport you and your wheelchair. Lyft? Ha ha ha ha ha…)

  • Ajax

    We all welcome competition and know that cab drivers have had a pretty sweet uncontested market for too long that’s allowed them to rest on their haunches.

    But it’s also pretty clear uber/lyft skirt the regulations to drive usership and profit. That’s fine to start the idea in the marketplace, but now that they’re (extremely) profitable, play ball and do right by the consumers and taxpayers.

    If they can’t succeed by being a consistent and regulated transportation company, then they don’t deserve to be in business.

    Welcome to the marketplace.

  • No_Slack_Jack

    For years I have utilized both sides of the casual carpool / rideshare system that exists in the Bay Area. Believe it or not, some of us utilize the new systems because within its framework there is a distinct possibility that we will be catching a lift from someone who has their own legitimate reason to be driving through or to the same locale as the rider; this means the trip has less environmental impact due to the shared nature of the trip.

    Another point: Director Hayashi’s rather clear hostility towards these systems leaves me wondering what her personal stake is in this calculus. Is it regulatory territoriality? Is she being pressured by her voting constituents? Too bad she’s not elected. Is she being pressured by the City’s Treasurer because their tax basis is threatened? Since there haven’t been any actual safety problems with it, then it seems to me that it must boil down to money!

  • Eugene

    It’s clear that the taxi system needs an overhaul, but it’s disingenuous of Lyft, Uber, etc. to say that they are a “ride share” service that is not directly competing with taxis. Pfft!

    People complain about taxis “driving scary” when the person being driven is an even worse driver. And those same people yell at taxi drivers for not getting them somewhere fast enough.

    The biggest difference between these ride share companies and traditional taxis is that one service is made up of blue collar types trying to make a living and one is made up of underemployed bourgeois layabouts using their car as a networking tool.

    Neither option is without its problems, but most scary taxi stories are urban legends and no one ride share companies are just more internet savvy and can maintain their squeaky clean reps.

    • leftoversright

      Well I guess I am now part of an Urban Legend!

    • Bob Fry

      Count my story (see above) as just another urban legend that was very real to me, my wife, and niece. Eff the taxis. Though the Manhattan cabbies were decent, that was when Rudy Giuliani had them controlled.

      • Pontifikate

        Having lived in NYC before and after Giuliani, I can tell you that cabs were always OK in NYC.

    • No_Slack_Jack

      Sorry to disagree, but I have had many, many very scary rides that had nothing to do w/ when I needed to be at my destination — yours is an unfounded assumption. Perhaps those people who are actually pressuring the cabs to “hurry up” are doing so because the cabs were not to be found or showed up 30 minutes after their promised arrival time — yes, I’ve experienced this one too.

      Please don’t make this into a white collar vs. blue collar matter. Because it’s the taxi management, and now we see the ever-greedy, no political backbone public bureaucrats — they don’t have the guts to properly tax us and rather prefer to hit us with very undemocratic and politically unregulated fees and ticket fines (yes we’re talking to you Ms. Hayashi) — there is clearly a lot of money being made, but it’s pretty obvious it is NOT trickling down to the cabbies. It might be better to focus your frustration on the “management” and politicos rather than the other new-fangled drivers.

      • MrJhnsn

        This is a class debate, if people treated cabbies like human beings in the first place we wouldn’t be here now.

        • jamiebronson

          LOL. Yes, you are right; it has nothing to do with their performance… (rolling eyes).

        • No_Slack_Jack

          Come on, give me some credit here. I have had rather numerous and lengthy conversations w/ cabbies about the various problems that have ultimately led to this very topic. Guess what? The cabbies are the tail of the cab company dog. According to the cabbies I spoke with, long before the white collar drivers started “stealing” their business, the problems were caused by the cab companies and regulators. So which party is actually flogging the cabbies? The regulators and cab companies or the alternate systems? Same story, different year.

          • Mrjhnsn

            You are right about the cab companies, and the Taxi Commission as a regulator was a total failure, the SFMTA has a long game in effect but the thing holding them back is the cab companies. The dispatch arrangement has been a source of anger since the 90s and much of the major problems come from the company regulation not being beneficial to anyone. The licensed cab driver is a victim of these illegal services as the fares they rely on are being gutted by anyone with a phone and a car. Some long time, good, city serving cabbies are losing their retirement plan because of some greedy techies. This could have been done in a better and legal fashion but neither sidecar or lyft went that route, instead they chose to flout the law and go rogue because its cheaper to be a bandit than it is to follow the law.

          • Ren

            I’d rather ride in a so called “bandit” which is safer, nicer oh and what else…did I mention safer and nicer? Than riding in your cab, where I quote what you said in a certain social media post ”

            “You also falsely claim that by talking on the cell phone (which is just rude to the passenger) it makes them more dangerous, but what you fail to consider or likely don’t know, is driving falls under a category of repetitive tasks that become part of what is colloquially referred to as “muscle memory”. As cab drivers have hundreds of thousands more miles driven than the average joe they can effectively drive 20 mph over the speed limit, while talking on the phone, picking their nose, playing guitar, driving with just the left foot with one eye closed and a hand tied behind their back all while simultaneously tracking hundreds of moving people and objects about 100 times better than you can with no distractions and both hands at 10 – 2 going just 2 mph over the speed limit.”

            I mean, really now? That’s a lot of violation and distractions while driving isn’t it?

            People might just believe what you say, so be careful.

            The whole read is here –

            This is how Mr. Johnson define cabbies in general. Yes, that is why I don’t take cabs anymore. After reading his posts, I now have a good idea on how cabbies think. Sad really. You’re really just shooting the only remaining foot that you guys have.

          • So by his statement cabbies should be allowed to break the law because they’re better at it than regular drivers? Great defense. I’m sure this will be brought up several times in court cases against cabbies.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Im not saying they should at all, i am saying they do because they have the skills to. Read the whole post.

          • So you’re saying then that they break the law because they have the skills to. OK.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Yeah thats what I am saying. Cabbies get hassled less by traffic cops because of this fact. I am by no means saying its right or should be encouraged. Its clear that despite cabbies’ skills, the customers do not need to fear for their lives in a cab, no matter how irrational that fear may be. Cabbies should be driving in a manner that appears to be safe to all involved, and definitely should not be on the phone while driving (something I have yelled at drivers for repeatedly as a dispatcher).

          • and now you’re saying that cops bother cabbies less because they’re better criminals. You’re not making a good case here.

          • Mrjhnsn

            An illegal u-turn, left turn where restricted, two minutes of double parking, reversing 30 feet down a street, or speeding down a timed light street at 3 am, does not make you a criminal, if it did EVERYONE would be a criminal. You obviously are just seeing what you want to see in my comments just like Ren. Stop trying to read in-between the lines, there is no message there.

            What i am saying is simple:
            1> Cab drivers are better drivers than EVERYONE else and can handle much more while driving than EVERYONE else
            2> They are better because they drive more hours and miles than everyone else under ALL types of condidtions
            3> The type of driving they do requires that they break some minor traffic rules just to do their job
            4> police know these facts and let them do what they need to (and police do it too)
            5> people think that cabbies are driving dangerously when cabbies are driving really crazy or sometimes just driving
            6> cabbies should not be doing anything that is potentially distracting (even though they can) while driving with a passenger especially talking on the phone, its just rude.

            I hope you understand now. I don’t think I can dumb it down any further.

          • Will Ng

            Most of the things you mention, illegal u-turn, restricted left turn, double parking. Those are not hard maneuvers, rather those are maneuvers that are inconsiderate to people waiting behind the driver doing it.

          • Mrjhnsn

            I completely agree, but think about where you see it happen and how its accomplished. You’ll never see a taxi making a 5 point u-turn 5 feet from an intersection but you will see a civilian driver do it. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some bad or reckless drivers that try to drive a cab, but they don’t last long thanks to the govt oversight.

          • Mrjhnsn

            I forgot… Generally not hard maneuvers but to be able to rapidly and safely pull off some of these on crowded streets, 20-60 times a day, takes skill.

          • Will Ng

            The taxi driver is giving too much credit too the on-coming traffic. He might be accident free, but unexpected sudden rapid maneuver might scare the on-coming traffic silly.

            Just one of my pet pevees of driving, when a driver makes an illegal left turn knowingly, with 5 cars honking. But the driver don’t care. Not targeting Taxis with that comment, just any regular drivers.

          • Mrjhnsn

            ANYONE pulling that maneuver pisses me off. Thats when I am screaming out the window “NO LEFT TURN YOU DUMB F—“….. Cabs though are allowed to make left turns where other vehicles can’t… basically anywhere it says taxis specifically and some where it just says Muni only.

          • Breaking the law is a criminal offense, not always a felonious offense. There, did I dumb it down enough for you?

            From your words, cabbie break the law because they have to. They can’t do their job without breaking the law.

            I suppose all those police offers were pulling over cabs at Outside lands just to ask them how the wife and kids were doing?

            To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a thing against most cab drivers, but more against the companies that hire them in a lose/lose situation that makes them have to break the law in order to work. Saying “Cabbies are better drivers” is like a bandaid on a severed limb. I see accidents involving cabs every week. Just keep saying that to yourself.

          • Mrjhnsn

            There are accidents with cabbies every week. The vast majority are the fault of the opposing drivers. Same way most MVA with motorcycles are the fault of the opposing drivers. There have been many studies involving cabbies and accident data here is a link to and article about and containing a link to a recent study of NYC cabbies and accidents proving my point…
            Also the taxis getting pulled over at outside lands were out of town taxis. I just asked the lead investigator for the SFMTA and he confirmed that they were doing enforcement and ticketing out of town cabs for picking up. There were a couple SF cabs pulled over for traffic violations but no tickets were issued to them. In the case of lyft sidecar and uber the 12-15 laws they are breaking are a bit more serious than a traffic ticket, some could even be called felonious (and IMHO definitely are).
            Furthermore, I am getting reports of inapproriate behavior towards women by Lyft, Sidecar and Uber drivers, something that they seem to not care about and in the case of Sidecar actually encourage. If this happens in a real cab and is reported to 311 it is taken very seriously and often results in cabbies getting their permit yanked, then they go become Uber drivers…. I know of one that has a DUI and since he couldn’t get hired by a cab company he became an Uber driver. Safety is not the first priority of these companies despite their pontificating, profits on the other hand, are. Finally if a cabbie didn’t break traffic laws from time to time, it would result in higher fares to the customer, so if they aren’t making an illegal u-turn or what not they are intentionally trying to rack up the meter. So the question is: Do you want actual recourse and a driver that has the skills to get you from point a-b safely? or do you want someone who may have had their license yanked or maybe has less than 10k miles of city driving under their belt, with no insurance and no recourse? The city doesn’t give 20$ off your next ride cause the driver showed you his dick, they take his license and press charges.

          • Mrjhnsn

            This out of context quote from my lengthy comment is not how I classify cabbies in general….

            I classify cabbies as hard working individuals that work long hours risking their lives all to be paid barely a living wage all while being treated like garbage by self-entitled jerks like you. Your generation gets treated like crap by taxi drivers because the moment that you get in the cab you are treating them like a lower class life form.

            I never have any issues with taxi drivers not taking credit card because I treat them like human beings and not my servant. I say please and thank you every time I’m in a cab and never have a problem with service. Your generation seems to have completely forgotten how to use those three simple words.

          • Ren

            And there you go ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Johnson doing his thing judging everybody except himself. YOU don’t know me, you have no idea what crap I had to take from cabbies like you! My generation? I’m older than you youngling, guess you always assume that all who reject your so called ideas are younger than you. You need to tone down the aggressiveness you put out to people like me, who by the way, gives you the livelihood that you’re trying to protect.

            Who are you to call me names? Who are you to tell me that I don’t respect cab drivers? Who are YOU to think that you’re higher than everybody else? You, Mr. Johnson, is a poor excuse for a cab driver.

            As you can see, you basically answered a lot of the questions that people want to know. Just your reply makes a whole lotta sense as to why people hate cabbies.

            Oh, and by the way, don’t assume that everybody that’s against you drives for Lift and sidecar. You just rub me the wrong way when somebody pointed me to your name. Must be the arrogance that you put out and how you insult people that are not cab drivers and to make matters worse, your potential customers.

            Try opening your eyes a little and maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to see the real world.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Judging… really… and “youngling” really dude? You must be exactly the type of person I am describing. As far as me as a cabbie, i have never once had a complaint and have only had to toss a few people in 6 years out of my cab for bad behavior. The rest of the thousands of people that mistreated me and gave me attitude before even looking at who was driving, I treated nicely despite their attitudes.

            I am most certainly not part of the problem or a “poor excuse for a cab driver”. Go have a look at the yelp reviews people have left about me on the Luxor Cab listing. Additionally I have been admonishing cab drivers for bad behavior for years, and quite often my argument to them was that their job is to take the bad treatment and be the better person by being nice in return.

            When you act like someone with a chip on your shoulder towards cabbies I am going to treat you like someone with a chip on your shoulder, the large majority of which are selfish 20 somethings. So if you are over 30, you are not one of the SH generation and FYI I am 36, not old by any means but most certainly not a “youngling”.

            Great way to stand behind your words when your identity is oh so secret and hidden behind a name like Ren. People know who I am and I stand behind my words, thats a lot more than you bring to the table.

          • Ren

            We can go back and forth as to how great you are and how deluded and nasty I am as a passenger, but again, youngling (yes, I’m way older than you)your poor excuse as to why cab drivers treat passengers rudely is the reason why passengers treat cab drivers the way they do. And why would I identify my whole name? That would be stupid and crazy especially nowadays. If people mistreated you, let it go, it’s part of the job that you chose. My clients are the same way, actually you have it good since you won’t have to see them again, so what are you complaining about. C’mon man, it’s clear as night and day, this is all about you! Try and analyze what you’ve been posting and if you still can’t see it, then you’re hopeless. Good luck to you man, you’re going to need it.

          • Mrjhnsn

            BTW who do you work for? Lyft or Sidecar?

          • Ren

            I work for myself, like you Mr. Johnson, I have my own business. And people come in to my studio for said business. I deal with clients everyday, and I do have a lot of clients that I don’t like, especially when they don’t have an understanding of what my process and policies are. But do I insult them behind their back and call them names? I think not, that would just be like shooting myself in the head.

            But you, man you’re a piece of work. Calling customers names, insults and threatening assault posted in social media nonetheless, makes for a very definitive case against you and you’re state of mind.

            YOU need to stop talking and typing your opinions, it just ruins it for every other cab drivers that doesn’t want you to represent them.

            BTW, who do you really work for Mr. Johnson? Let me answer that, from people that ride your cab. That’s right, you driving a cab means that you’re a business, and what do you have to do to make your business grow? Right again class, CUSTOMER SERVICE, the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT, say it again. If you start blabbering your mouth against your customers what happens next? I’ll let you answer that on your own, you’re a big kid now.

            And please, please STOP shooting yourself in the foot. Zip. Seriously though, who do you really work for?

          • Mrjhnsn

            Ohh missed this juicy one… you are trying really hard to piss me off…
            As I said before, if you have worked in the service industry (restaurant, bar, retail, taxi, etc) you would know that the customer is not always right and sometimes even the reason they are getting crappy service. I always give good service in my cab, or when I am dispatching so I definitely do my part for the taxi business on the service front. If you care soooo much about who I work for just read my social media posts since you are so good at investigating me. Which since you take everything I say out of context… I have said TNC drivers are lucky its not like the OLD days when cabbies would beat up gypsy cab drivers. I have said in a sarcastic series of posts that if i could fight anyone i would choose a certain TNC executive and that I would kick his ass. These are not threats of violence by any stretch, and whatever they are saying in the Lyft Lounge this week is more ignorant rumors and speculation.

            Who I work for is irrelevant as the cab company will make the same money every day regardless of how many people get picked up. So definitely NOT shooting myself in my foot or effecting how much money they make. Nor am I effecting the cab drivers I volunteer my time to fight for.

            Also you sound like someone that has to test the customer service everywhere you go. I bet you complain to a manager at least once or twice a week. People like YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

            I’m actually laughing at how worked up you are getting.
            Have a nice one dude. Let me know when you land in reality.

          • Will Ng

            I disagree with with your take on how this could have been done better. Under your assumption innovation and technologies should always take a backseat to legal settings.

            I.E. Commercial aviation should not have taken place until we had the CAA in place.

            The auto industry shouldn’t have been allow until we have speed limits and stop signs.

            internet should not have been allow until we had proper legal framework to made.

            This would inhibit national growth. As a country we are much more dependent on innovative growth than population growth. We have put regulatory policy before each and every new idea that comes in play, well I see stagnation in our near future.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Will you do have a valid point, however The CAA was a response to what was not known to be needed until then, and commercial aviation was truly an innovation to travel. This very wrong story that what Lyft and Sidecar are doing is somehow innovative and new is plainly wrong. They are just rebranding taxis and pushing for deregulation. The transportation for hire business was governed by rules set by guilds from the time of Constantinople to 1635 in London. From 1635 (Hackney Carriage Act) till now, “on demand” transportation for hire has been regulated as taxi or livery. These services are not “ridesharing” and they are not innovative, green, or for the social good. These services should be following the law and could have had power to properly change regulations but in order for their business model to work they have to try to redefine words that already have well established definitions (read their CPUC filings) and break the law with unlimited numbers of vehicles all so they can make a profit. This assumption that my argument is against innovation is plainly wrong. I believe strongly in innovation and companies like Flywheel, Hailo, Taxi Magic and NextTaxi are all innovative (some existed years before lyft and sidecar) and are not only working within existing regulatory frameworks but helping to push the regulators to update the laws to allow for innovation without compromising public safety.

          • Will Ng

            Give it another few months, come September CPUC will formalize their rule and regulation regarding TNC services. Insurance companies will leap at the opportunity to offer new products, TNC insurance.

            Safety, insurance issue, all would be in the CPUC new TNC regulatory frameworks.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Thats what the TNCs hope. Insurance will not leap at an opportunity to have to spend more money paying out claims, they have even said if this becomes legal it will raise rates for everyone. Mark my words, just wait and see what their response to the proposed regulatory changes. It will be scathing.

        • Ren

          I think you have that backwards, Mr. Johnson…if you a cabbie, treated people like a person, then we as a customer won’t do the stuff that we do now don’t we?

          • MrJhnsn

            Cabbies treat you like shit because you get in and act like an entitled AHole… I have never had the broken credit card machine experience and I flag cabs on the street once or twice a day. I don’t tell them who I am or what I do. I get in, thank them for picking me up and politely tell the where I want to go (and how if applicable) and sit back. I just treat them like the hard working person they are.

            As far as my comment on the other blog i love how you take it entirely out of context… the point of my statement is that cabbies are better drivers as a result of the many hours and miles they drive despite the perception of the passenger.

            We drive fast and crazy because we have the skills to. You can always politely ask the driver to calm it down and they will comply when you say “please”.

            “please” and “thank you”… three words all you entitled gen Y and millenials seem to have forgotten how to use.

  • Bob Fry

    The worst car experience I ever had was a cabbie-from-hell in Newark NJ. When he robbed my cell phone in Manhattan trying to get more tip money, I reported him to the Newark Taxi Authority and they told me–without hearing my story–“you left your phone in the cab”. The fix was in! I detest taxis and welcome the ride-share services.

    • I had a girl who left her phone in my car after I dropped her off. I turned around since I was only a block away and drove back and handed it to her. I got a good tip for that ride.

      • Will Ng

        I am a sidecar driver, I had a lady that left a cell phone too in my car. I drove 1.5 miles during rush hours on a Friday to make sure my passenger got their property back in a timely manner.

        • I also had a guy who called me and I returned the phone later that day. Once again, great tip!

  • Commander_Reginald_P_LaserCat

    Christiane Hayashi, the taxi PR hack, was utterly insufferable. How much do you have to be paid to be that much of a hack?

    • MrJhnsn

      A “hack” is a taxi driver, and taxi drivers barely make a living wage as is, deregulation will only make that less. The term “hack” comes from “hackney” and taxis have been regulated since the Hackney Carriage Act of 1635.
      Chris Hayashi is the Director of Taxi Services at the SFMTA and a representative of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, not a PR “flack”.

    • MrJhnsn

      and you must be under 25 with a username like that, and your clueless use of words like “hack” and I assume you use words like “ironic” and “irregardless” daily in an attempt to sound intelligent or cool. People like you are the primary reason you get bad service from taxis. Your self entitled attitudes are despicable in your treatment of those you consider to be in a lower social class.

    • Mike M

      She’s trying to keep a system up that is the backbone to the normal transportation to SF, not to mention one of the only modes for all disabled in this city, too. Flooding the market with mustachioed cars will cause a lot of hard issues.

      • Will Ng

        Because of Taxi not responding to disability ride request the city of San Francisco has also added, SF Access ADA Paratransit, Group Van, and Shop A-Round.

        Also try using Sidecar/Lyft/Uber and when you place your request also tell them you have a wheelchair. I think most likely they will tell you no problem. And still be on their way to pick you up.

  • MrJhnsn

    If lyft and sidecar had gone about it legally there would be no issues with them. All they had to do was buy some cars, recruit some medallion holders and hire drivers with the same ads they have been using all along, send those drivers through taxi school and pow… we now have a taxi company, following the law and using their nifty app they copied from the original innovators like Flywheel.

    Its disgusting that these companies are spreading lies, blowing out of proportion problems with drivers, and calling taxi companies “monopolies”. This could not be farther from the truth.

    They are hell bent on stealing jobs from people that have worked for 20 years plus all to give those same jobs to inexperienced 20 year olds in a deregulation fad that will fade away when bad stuff starts happening.

    These companies either did no real research and just think they know better or they did real research and don’t care that what they are doing will make it impossible for some to feed their families and reduce quality of service for the people that rely on taxis every day.
    San Francisco taxis gave over 750k paratransit rides this last year, thats over 2000 a day, how many did Lyft and Sidecar do? NONE
    Paratransit rides are to and from dialysis, grocery stores, clinics, hospitals and more. The rides these services are giving are 20 somethings to and from the club, bar, airport, work, and never to or from the ghetto. They are specifically designed to take the most lucrative ridership away from the industry that relies on it to survive.
    People complain about cabs being crappy… just wait till these companies are allowed to operate legally (not just on some BS temp agreement)…. it will be a race to the bottom, service, quality of driver and car will go down, driving safety will go out the window as drivers are racing to compete for fewer and fewer fares.

    There is no taxi monopoly (or mafia)… there are licensing rules and regulations to insure safety (taxi drivers may drive crazy, but they have less accidents per mile than you and drive 100x better, despite what you hear or think you see) and consistency of equipment and service. These companies just don’t want to join the taxi business legally because its too much headache for them and it limits the number of cars they can have on the road.

    They want profit at the expense of the public safety…. this is the safety of everyone on the road including their own drivers.

    The work Chris Hayashi is doing at the SFMTA with the help of leaders in the taxi industry is bringing the regulations into the 21st century so that those 200 Ahole drivers on the road get removed.
    Calling a taxi company to complain is not the feedback system, its 311, taxi companies exist to maintain the fleet and lease the cars out, thats it. They make the same money if zero customers get picked up or 500…. this is a huge part of the problem industry wide. Chris is working on getting this changed so taxi companies have incentive to provide better service and have more control over how the drivers behave, so we can weed out the bad apples. What the mayor is advocating will destroy years of work we all have been working for to change the taxi industry for the better.

    • jamiebronson

      What lies are you talking about? It’s a cold hard fact that getting a taxi from or to the beach area is nigh impossible. “200 Ahole drivers?” I can’t remember the last taxi I took where the driver is NOT on their cell phone the whole time. Talk about unsafe “Ahole.” Goodbye taxi companies.

      • No_Slack_Jack

        Check your 3rd sentence. I think you mean you “can’t remember the last alternate rideshare driver,” not “taxi”. Right?

        • jamiebronson

          Thanks. fixed it.

      • Mike M

        Use Flywheel or Taxi Magic. You will find a taxi. Most of us are not that way.

        • jamiebronson

          I use Uber or uberx. same idea.

    • pascale68

      But for those of us who live outside the city center, it is next to impossible to get a cab to come pick you up. I would use taxis if they would bother to come out of their way to where I need them. If these private services push the taxi commission to change their rules so that taxis service the entire city, that that alone I would be thankful for.

    • No_Slack_Jack

      A couple of interesting points regarding Paratransit rides, bad neighborhoods, and there being no taxi monopoly.

      That said, I stand by my comments RE the cab companies and city governments being so heated about this new system because they perceive a real threat to their incomes. I feel little sympathy for the dinosaur cab company model and am quite upset that our city governments now find it necessary to utilize surreptitious means of financing our municipal needs — please just honestly inform us and then tax us.

  • Mike M

    Let’s get something straight. Taxi drivers’ competition is the taxi driver outside his window. Drivers are not a band of one company. Only dispatchers work for 10’s of taxi companies in SF. Its like saying every corner liquor store that you go to is owned by one person. You don’t like one of them, go to the other one accross the street. Shocking, isn’t it?

    Demand to see the commercial insurance that is to pay for your injuries from your Lyft or Sidecar driver. He’s on his own, too, just like a taxi driver! Didn’t you know? Except his/her personal car CANNOT BE INSURED because its a PERSONAL CAR. The commerce that you are giving to the driver nullifies his policy, which eventually will be dropped. Happy driving!

    • Bob Fry

      If I get injured my work-derived health insurance will pay for treatment, just like any other medical problem I might suffer. For others, lack of insurance might be a problem, but not for most.

    • No_Slack_Jack

      This is a very good and true point. Unless something has happened in the insurance industry that I am unaware of, the moment the TNC drivers pick up a rider who pays them to drive them somewhere, they are flying completely naked as far as their coverage is concerned. That is because our domestic policies are specifically written for non-commercial use. If something happens, the rider might sue the driver and not the driver’s insurance agency for damages or PI’s unless the driver has insurance specific to that riding arrangement.

      As an ardent fan of the casual carpool, I truly hope there is a difference between sharing costs (gas or tolls) versus trying to make a few bucks on the side as a commercial driver.

      • No_Slack_Jack

        Self-correction: As someone who’s never used a TNC, I had no knowledge of the ever-present high-tech rights waiver that has since been mentioned by another post far above this one. It sounds like if you use a TNC, you legally agree to hold harmless the driver.

  • Sil

    I agree with Abby’s comment. I once had a driver who had just moved to the U.S. and asked me for directions to the airport. I wonder when did his “screening” and “background check” take place?

    • Bob Fry

      I flew into Dallas and got the Supershuttle to my aunt’s house. The driver didn’t have a map and wanted me to tell him how to get there. WTH, I didn’t know! These so-called screened and professional drivers are a joke. I can hardly wait for self-driving cars.

  • Pontifikate

    Not everyone has a smartphone or wants to pay $80 a month for one. One shouldn’t need this to have reliable cab service that serves everyone!

    • Mike M

      Not saying you have to. Just giving you a lead to aid in the process. If one company sucks… use another…. and find the one you like. Some swear by Luxor. Others by Veterans. Everyone yells about Yellow…. etc.

      • Pontifikate

        One shouldn’t have to keep calling different cab companies. There should be a central dispatch. I’ve tried doing that and it’s enormously frustrating, not to mention you still don’t really know if anyone will show up!

  • Sistah Nedra

    If the people didn’t want ride-sharing, the people would not use ride-sharing. Yet, the industry is growing leaps and bounds. Let the PEOPLE decide who they want to ride with, we’re not stupid.

  • pascale68

    Thanks, I will try that.

  • But will they show up?

  • No_Slack_Jack

    I do appreciate the humanistic concerns for the cabbies and their
    futures; all of us really deserve a chance to just make a living wage
    and to be treated with kindness and respect. This whole topic has been born in the fires of broken down transit system, and it is the cabbies and those who lack their own transpo who are paying the price.

    Surprise, surprise, both sides of this discussion have very legitimate points. Truth in advertising here is that I am a lefty who does believe that government has a positive role to play in a decent and productive society. The problem I sense is that I smell money wafting between the cab companies and City Hall and the ever-whining tax-cutting maestros who have all but destroyed any decent public transit system in the Bay Area.

    At the dark core of this topic lies the MTC (and the MTA less so), the organization that manages all the public transit in the Bay Area. Organizationally, the MTC is arranged like a pyramid, with BART at the very pinnacle (the BART commissioners, not the rank & file). Not too surprisingly, BART is quite territorial, doesn’t like competition, especially from light rail, controls the cash and development, and is the main reason that neighborhood level public transit is in a shambles throughout the region.

    Ultimately, it is the cab system that has filled the enormous gaps that BART has created; now the TNC’s are stepping in too, and then today’s topic springs to life. So let us please focus our ire where it belongs, which is NOT the cabbies or the TNC’s, but rather on the philosophically outdated BART system, its commissioners and bureaucrats, the city, county, and other local politicos who wipe BART’s derriere and take money from the cab companies, and who have become dependent on taxi derived funds to keep our cities going.

    It is us, we have to get out there and vote to limit BART’s reach, we have to vote in taxes to pay for decent cities and public transit, we have to fund investigations into the potential corruption within the medallion and licensing systems, and we have to vote for politicians who share our vision for a progressive transit system that is flexible, fair, responsible, safe, environmentally better than what we’ve got now, and affordable.

  • Will Ng

    Mr Johnson,

    I know you mean well for the taxi drivers, and your industry and I respect that. But I think moving forward, TNC is going to stay, with the current geopolitical environment. Being supported by both the Mayor Ed Lee, and the passing of CPUC.

    Taxi companies should really figure out where they are and where they want to go. They can stay the same and try there best to hinder innovation. Or step up their game. It really isn’t that hard. Accept all form of payments which includes Credit Cards. Give passenger a ride even if it is 5 blocks away. Picking people up from the outerreaches of San Francisco. Don’t give lip, when you are headed to a place you don’t want to. Engage in meaningful conversation. Heck you guys have drivers with 20 years of exp, they can even give a short history lesson of San Francisco during the ride to tourist. And for your bad apples, sort through and fire them.

    But don’t feel entitled to your position because someone been doing it for 20 years. If someone else comes along and does it better. Well, either up the game or move aside. That applies to every position in any jobs. 90’s came along and people had to learn computer. 2000 came along and people needed to use cellphones. Taxi industry shouldn’t be an exception.

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