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Will ‘Ride Sharing’ Kill San Francisco’s Taxi Industry?

| November 7, 2013
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A protester mocks ride service Lyft and its signature pink mustaches at a July cab driver rally outside San Francisco City Hall. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

A protester mocks ride service Lyft and its signature pink mustaches at a July cab driver rally outside San Francisco City Hall. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

With the rise of what some call the “sharing economy” — or shared access to goods, services, data and talent — many industries are facing disruption. One of those is the taxi industry, where app-based ride-service startups threaten the taxis’ entrenched business model. In the first installment of a three-part series, KQED’s Jon Brooks looks at the shakeout, assessing the risks and benefits to those who sign up as ride-service drivers vs. traditional cab drivers, and uncovers some startling signs of trouble in San Francisco.

On the streets of San Francisco, what might be called the “Mustache War” has begun, pitting the traditional taxi industry against the networked ride services like Lyft (of the pink mustache), Sidecar and UberX. In September, the California Public Utilities Commission approved regulations to oversee the ride-service startups, which allow passengers to hire private drivers through smartphone apps.

The nascent business model has been widely called “ride-sharing,” but the CPUC said that term is a misnomer. The companies are now officially referred to as “Transportation Network Companies,” or TNCs, a term with a much less altruistic ring.

Though the TNCs may have lost the connotative battle, they think they’ve won the war. While the new regulations require the companies to run background checks and institute training programs, offer a higher level of insurance and accommodate disabled passengers and low-income neighborhoods, they have also given the companies official legal sanction to operate.

That’s a far cry from a year ago, when the CPUC hit TNCs with cease-and-desist letters and fines.

If these high-tech ride-for-hire matchmakers are the big winners in the regulatory conflict, the traditional taxi industry sees itself as decidedly on the short end.

In San Francisco, while the new services have helped mitigate the notoriously difficult task of finding a cab during peak hours, they have also prompted bitter protests from licensed companies and drivers, who view them as unregulated competition that has taken a big bite out of the taxi market. Before the CPUC issued its proposal in July, hundreds of protesting drivers circled San Francisco City Hall in their taxis, honking horns and calling on Mayor Ed Lee, despite his lack of jurisdiction, to kick the companies out of San Francisco.

Cab Industry: Personal Vehicles for Hire ‘Outrageous’

Hansu Kim, the owner of San Francisco’s DeSoto Cab and a board member of the trade group Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, acknowledges the CPUC’s regulations might go some way in leveling the playing field in terms of competition between the ride services and the tightly regulated cab industry.

But he says the rules don’t go far enough to stop the bleeding in the taxi business or to protect public safety. TPAC has filed an appeal with the CPUC over its decision, and Kim says the industry will most likely sue over its declining fortunes.

“The cab industry will disappear. There will be no cab industry if this isn’t addressed.”

“I think the industry has no choice but to monetize their losses and take it to the courts,” he says. “I’m tightly regulated — what I can charge, the number of vehicles I can put out. They can charge what they want and put out the number of vehicles they want.”

And Kim concludes: “The idea of taking a personal car and acting like a commercial vehicle for hire is outrageous.”

“This is the same service competing for the same customers,” says Barry Korengold, president of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association. But he complains the new companies are allowed to bypass city regulations on the rates they charge, insurance, permit fees and the like.

Brad Newsham, who drove a cab in the city for 28 years and was also a chair of the United Taxicab Workers, says what’s particularly galling is the low barrier to entry for the newbies compared to what the city requires cab drivers to go through.

“They didn’t have to go to cab school, didn’t have to pay for an A-card,” Newsham says, referring to a cab-specific license that costs about $100 a year. “They didn’t have to do all the stuff we have to do. … I worked 20 years to get a medallion and these people walk in there and suddenly they’ve got everything I’ve got.”

In its rule-making, the CPUC rejected arguments charging the TNCs with unfair competition and dismissed warnings the new services will result in a “race toward the bottom with negative impact on safety and service.” In fact, the commission said its rules were similar to what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency already requires of cab operators

The way Brad Newsham sees it, regulations or not, the TNCs could finish off the cab industry.

“In my estimation, it’s on the verge of being wiped out,” he says. And he thinks the Internet’s so-called “sharing economy,” allowing all sorts of people to transform themselves into instant entrepreneurs by leveraging personal assets like a car or a home, might put an end to the driving profession.

“Maybe the cab driver as an institution is dead,” he says.

That’s not the only time I heard taxi industry stakeholders describe the ride services as an existential threat.

“The cab industry will disappear,” says Barry Korengold of the cab drivers association. “There will be no cab industry if this isn’t addressed.”

Giving Them the Finger

Besides engaging in heated rhetoric, cab drivers have also taken out their frustrations on their ride-service counterparts in the street.

One of the Lyft drivers I spoke to said cab drivers have given him his “fair share of the one-finger salute.” Said another: “I have never been harassed, but I’ll admit, after reading some of the crap fellow drivers go through, I often take my mustache down when I don’t have any passengers.”

Brad Newsham, a former cab driver of 28 years who was also a chair of the United Taxicab Workers. (Courtesy David Kidd)

Brad Newsham, a former cab driver of 28 years who was also a chair of the United Taxicab Workers. (Courtesy David Kidd)

Another driver said that in the course of the four months he’s been working for Lyft, there have been maybe five incidents in which cab drivers have taken him on, calling him a “whore,” boxing in his vehicle, and taking a picture of his license plate, accompanied by a threat to send it to his insurance company.

That last tactic — outing ride-service drivers as commercial-vehicle operators to their insurers — is actually an official policy of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, says Barry Korengold. “We’re supplying [the insurance companies] with factual evidence,” he says. “We collect the license plate numbers.” He says so far, his group has logged 1,300 or 1,400 plates.

Even Newsham, an author who was once featured on NPR and comes across as relatively even-tempered, says he couldn’t control himself when it came to the pink mustaches. “I’m not a guy who flips the bird. But the last few months I was driving a cab, every time I saw one … my hand went up. I just couldn’t stop it.”

In talking to longtime cab drivers like Newsham and Korengold, I thought there might be something other than just financial self-interest involved in their extreme animosity toward ride-service drivers. I suggested to Korengold, who has been driving for 30 years, that he sounded downright “offended” by the newcomers, who have set up shop as professional drivers so quickly and with an almost total absence of bureaucratic hassle. He jumped on that word.

“I’m totally offended. It’s disrespectful to the occupation. It’s a dangerous occupation. Not only do you have to worry about unruly passengers, drunk drivers, it’s a backbreaking job. It’s very disrespectful to the people who are doing this for years and it makes a mockery of the occupation, and of the regulations.”

Cab Industry ‘Shot Itself in the Foot’

Some in the San Francisco taxi community admit the industry’s failure to solve well-known problems, like the unavailability of cabs, have given the ride services an opening. “I think it’s pretty clear that these new services popped up because the taxi industry did not provide service here,” says Hansu Kim.

“I gotta say, it’s a good thing for the people of San Francisco that they can get a cab more easily now,” says Newsham. “The one good thing about this whole thing that has happened in the past years.”

“I think it’s pretty clear that these new services popped up because the taxi industry did not provide service here.”

Addressing that issue in a blog post, KQED Pop’s Lizzy Acker wrote about a Lyft ride she took to the airport in August: “It’s convenient and personal and I actually got a timely, affordable ride, which no taxi company in SF seemed able to provide for me on a Thursday afternoon for any price.”

Newsham criticizes the industry for not figuring out how to offer that kind of easy access to taxis. “The cab industry here shot itself in the foot,” he says. “…It has refused to deploy dispatching innovations. It has refused to keep up with the times and the times have moved right past them.”

Newsham says cab drivers have been asking for something called “centralized dispatch” for decades.

Christiane Hayashi, the SFMTA’s director of Taxis and Accessible Services, elaborates: “I think it was initially raised in the 1980s. They said, ‘Geez – wouldn’t it be nice if you could call one number and access every taxi.’ The powers that be have resisted that for many years now.”

Why?

Hayashi says cab companies don’t want to give customers to their competitors. “To some extent it’s legitimate,” she says. “It’s an understandable response from businesses. But unfortunately it’s not serving the public.”

Hayashi says the two smartphone apps that now dispatch taxis in San Francisco, TaxiMagic and Flywheel, “only recently have signed up sufficient numbers of taxis to be really effective.” She says the SFMTA is “working as fast as we can” to expand the system.

“I believe that if we can make all taxis available through the smartphone applications then we will be able to provide the same kind of reliability and easy electronic access that has made Lyft and Sidecar attractive to consumers,” she says.

Ride-Service Drivers Dig Their Jobs

Driving a taxi has traditionally been a way to supplement an income or earn a living while avoiding the 9-to-5 world.

Newsham characterizes those who gravitate to the job as “people who don’t quite fit in regular mainstream culture. The first thing you notice is you don’t have a boss in your presence all the time, someone telling you what to do. That’s really attractive.”

Now, with the advent of TNCs, in which drivers can use their own vehicles as opposed to having to own or rent a licensed taxi, the profession is open to all comers. We spoke to seven of them — six from Lyft, one from Sidecar. They were all highly positive about their experiences, citing good money and the freedom to work whenever they want. The Lyft drivers were particularly enthusiastic about what they called “Power Hours,” peak times when they get to keep 100 percent of their earnings.

We’re not using the last names of these drivers, for reasons we’ll get to in Part 2, when we talk about the uncertainties around insurance for TNC drivers.

James Lee fist bumps Lyft driver Alice before she takes him to work. Lee says he uses Lyft every day and prefers its convenience and reliability to public transportation.(Sara Bloomberg/KQED)

James Lee fist bumps Lyft driver Alice before she takes him to work. Lee says he uses Lyft every day and prefers its convenience and reliability to public transportation.(Sara Bloomberg/KQED)

One Lyft driver, Mike, says he makes an average of $25-$30 per hour on weekdays, $40 on weekends. “It is very lucrative,” he says. Like all the Lyft drivers we spoke to, he had no previous experience transporting customers, but really enjoys the job. “I sit out here for six to eight hours on a shift and I drive around and I talk to people and basically have fun. I learn all the new venues to go to, I hear about restaurants I’ve never tried, I meet all kinds of interesting people. I’m basically talking all night and listening to music.”

He says he’s given well over 1,000 rides since he started driving for Lyft. Any problems? “We rank all our passengers on a scale of one to five based on the experience that we have with them. … And I’ve never given anyone less than a five.”

One reason Mike might like his clientele so much: He can decline to pick up passengers based on how other drivers have rated them.

He can also bypass passengers that don’t typically tip at a certain percentage of Lyft’s suggested “donation” for each ride. That functionality helps weed out the stiffs, he says. “If you have a passenger out there that never (tips), eventually they’ll request a ride and never get one.”

Alice has been driving for Lyft since April. After seeing the company’s ad on Facebook, she filled out an online request for information, got a call and went for an interview. After a background check — “to make sure you’re a normal human being” — she was approved.

She says she was then given a one-hour orientation, and that was that — she was up and running as a professional driver. (Lyft has recently become more stringent about whom they take on, instituting a mentor system in which experienced drivers assess prospective candidates and make recommendations as to their hire. And per CPUC regulations, all TNCs will have to start training programs.)

Alice says she works about 20 hours per week and makes $25-$35 per hour, depending on the time of day she goes out. After 1,200 rides, she’s a big fan of Lyft, her fellow drivers, the passengers — everything. “Lyft is a great, positive community made up of a lot of good-hearted people,” she says.

Dan says he’s been a Lyft driver since April, and his boyfriend also goes out on calls. He has a full-time job as a teacher and doesn’t want to be held down to another commitment, which makes ride-service work attractive.

“If I have some spare time, I’ll log into the app and get some hours,” he says. “I can start driving on a whim.” Dan reports he makes anywhere from $22 to $35 an hour over the course of a four-hour shift.

Many Lyft drivers say they make anywhere from $22 to $35 an hour.

Jason is 26 and says he’s been driving for Lyft for four months. He was unemployed when he saw the company’s Facebook ad and signed up. He is pretty much working full time and estimates his earnings at $30-$35 per hour. He loves the job: “I think it’s really fun, I meet a whole bunch of people and have great conversations every day.”

One driver, who didn’t want us to use even his first name, says he was one of Lyft’s first 50 drivers, starting back when the company paid a flat rate of $18 per hour. He makes more than that now, no less than $25 an hour during a slow shift and always more than $30 on the weekend. He has another business, but it’s not going well, and Lyft is now his main source of income.

He’s fiercely pro-Lyft: “For me, Lyft is a company that’s really good. They take care of their employees and their passengers. It is kind of a community.”

I ask if it bothers him that he works 30 to 40 hours a week but gets no health care, workers’ comp or other benefits. (Lyft and Uber have both been named in lawsuits that allege the companies incorrectly classify workers as independent contractors.)

“We’re hoping there will be something like that in the future,” he says.

(Except for workers’ comp, cab drivers are in the same boat. When I asked Brad Newsham if taxi drivers get benefits like health care and vacation time, his answer was, “Ha ha ha ha ha.”)

A driver for Sidecar, Jeremy, has been on the job since last Christmas. He says he makes an average of $30 an hour, driving 20-25 hours per week. He is also a big fan of this gig. “I just had my 1,000th ride this year and I love it,” he says. “I meet really nice people; most of them are from the tech industry, I believe, from talking to them.”

It’s not surprising that these newbies to the business are excited about their jobs, Newsham says. “I loved cab driving from the first day, period,” he said. “Driving around the world’s prettiest city, talking to people. … Every day, even after 28 years, I saw something new, something that took my breath away. And in the beginning it was more money than I had ever made in my life. I just fell in love with it.”

But for those TNC drivers who are thinking of permanently strapping on the  ‘stache, Newsham has a warning: This is the honeymoon period. Driving year in and year out takes its toll. “I worked a year-and-a-half in an underground mine. That was hard labor. I put cab driving right up there with it.” Newsham says being wary of “not killing somebody, not killing yourself,” while also trying to make enough to pay the rent is extremely stressful.

Taxi Drivers See Income Decline

That last part — paying the rent — explains why taxi drivers are so worried about the TNCs. Because if ride-service drivers express an almost universal sense of happiness about the money they can make, that is coming at the expense of the traditional taxi business.

John Han, who’s been driving a cab for 11 years, says he currently makes between $20-$35 per hour, but that pay can vary widely from driver to driver. He says one driver he recently spoke to, someone whose English wasn’t great, told him that after gas and gate fees, he took home $10 total over a Saturday and Sunday.

Han says that, anecdotally at least, $15-$19 per hour is more the norm for taxi drivers now. And that pay rate is going down, according to drivers who say they’ve taken a sharp financial hit since the surfeit of new vehicles-for-hire has hit the road.

Anecdotally at least, $15-$19 per hour is more the norm for taxi drivers now.

Ed Healy has been driving a cab for 30 years, and he blogs about the industry and his contempt for the ride services at The Phantom Cab Driver Phites Back. Healy estimates taxi driver earnings are off about 25 percent as a result of all the additional competition.

Newsham says he’s heard that figure from other drivers, too. Hansu Kim, owner of San Francisco’s DeSoto Cab, puts the drop in all taxi business citywide in the same range — anywhere from 25 to 33 percent in the past year.

Newsham says the “bandit cabs,” as he calls them, were the final straw in his own decision to quit the business this year. In his best years as a driver, he made $30,000 to $35,000 a year driving 20 to 30 hours a week. By the time he pocketed his last tip, he was making next to nothing — about $5 an hour — which he attributes to all the new competition. That big drop in income prompted him to sell his medallion, the permit that allows cab owners to lease out their vehicles to drivers and companies. The sale netted him $150,000.

“Seems like there was no choice. I had to take that 150K while it was still there,” he says, referring to the declining value of taxi ownership.

Some Passengers ‘Have Sworn Off Cabs Forever’

I asked some of the ride-service drivers if they felt bad about the financial blow cab drivers have absorbed.

Not really, says Alice. So many of her passengers are using Lyft because they cannot get a taxi to take them to the outer areas of the city.

“Most of my passengers say they cannot get a cab ride to the Outer Sunset,” she says.

“People [tell me] they’ve gotten kicked out of cabs, the driver says ‘No, I’m about to go home so get out of my car,’ or they say, ‘My tire’s  flat, I can’t drive that way now.’ I’ve heard many, many cab horror stories about how they cannot get a cab. So it’s hard for me to feel sympathy for an industry that is still excluding a lot of passengers. Most of Lyft’s passengers have sworn off cabs forever.”

TNC drivers say their passengers have sworn off cabs forever. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

TNC drivers say their passengers have sworn off cabs forever. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

DeSoto Cab’s Hansu Kim responds that, “That’s happened on occasion, but it’s really not that common now.” The SFMTA’s Christiane Hayashi says the agency has adopted regulations requiring dispatch permit holders to meet minimum requirements to “increase responsiveness to neighborhood dispatch requests,” and that any company that fails to comply with those standards will be shut down.

Lyft driver Mike says he is sympathetic to cab drivers, but doesn’t appreciate all the flak coming his way.

“There’s some great cab drivers out there that are suffering from this, and I really hope that can come to a better place for them,” he says. “And for the drivers that are out there bad-mouthing us, find out the truth. They’re all out there saying we’re all uninsured and this, that and the other, and we’re horrible people and we don’t go through any training. I just tell people to do a little research before you believe everything that you read.”

Brad Newsham says that while he understands the appeal of the new services, and that passengers are frustrated with the taxi industry, there is still a real human cost to the dislocation that is occurring.

“Nobody knows who these people are, the cab drivers who are getting the shaft here,” he says. “Nobody knows their stories. Nobody knows what they’ve been through. If you’re coming in here and you’re all gaga about your new job, you don’t know whose career you’ve just put a bullet through the head of. You get all caught up in the technology. Technology is hip, technology is cool, tech is the future. (But) what about the people?”

Wanna Drive a Cab? ‘Not Even.’

I asked some of our ride-service drivers if they’d ever thought of driving a cab, which would entail a much more involved process than signing up for ride-service work.

“Not even,” said one, which seemed to sum up the attitude of the group.

OK, but what about the reverse? If things are so bad in the cab industry, why don’t more cab drivers, instead of protesting, make the switch to ride-service gigs?

Well, they are, actually, says DeSoto Cab’s Kim.

“My biggest concern is the shortage of (cab) drivers. A lot of the drivers are leaving the business. There’s no doubt some drivers have decided to do it on their own.”

John Han, who drives for Yellow Cab, says he thinks cab companies are having a hard time filling shifts, and that a dispatcher recently told him he could work extra days without having to go through the company’s lottery system. Han says he thinks “a fair share of taxi drivers have moved to Lyft, Sidecar and UberX.”

But some longtime taxi drivers who know the business inside and out think there is a serious risk that the ride-service drivers are overlooking. “I wouldn’t ever drive in one because of the insurance issue,” said Ed Healy. “I actually signed up at (Lyft and Sidecar) … but I decided not to drive the cars after I read the terms and conditions of the contract, because I wasn’t going to leave my car exposed to an accident.”

We’ll take a closer look at the insurance issues in Part Two of our series next week.

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  • LeAnn Raschke

    “People [tell me] they’ve gotten kicked out of cabs, the driver says
    ‘No, I’m about to go home so get out of my car,’ or they say, ‘My
    tire’s flat, I can’t drive that way now.’ I’ve heard many, many cab
    horror stories about how they cannot get a cab….

    DeSoto Cab’s Hansu Kim responds that, “That’s happened on occasion,
    but it’s really not that common now.”

    Yeah, it’s not that common NOW because of the new competition. If ride share never existed, I’d still never be getting a ride. It’s not that ‘tech is new and tech is hip’, it’s that tech is helping people get from point A to point B, which is more than what can be said about the atrocious cab service SF has been dealing with for years. I feel sympathy only for the individual cabbies who have worked their whole lives for that medallion and are now getting the shaft – but it’s not like they don’t have different employment options.

    • Andrew

      It is very common now, It has happened to me twice in the last two weeks.

  • T

    Using Lyft means I take out my phone, request a ride and generally 2-6 minutes later it comes right to my location with a friendly driver to takes me where I want to go. It auto bills my card and is equal to a cab even with a good tip.

    Cab drivers in SF are nearly impossible to flag down and treat their customers terribly. I’ve been told to get back out of the cab many times when they find out I’m going somewhere they dislike or if I want to pay with a card. Also unless you’re in a few centrally located areas then good luck ever getting one. Cabs are also usually filthy, terribly driven, and the last straw for me was when a driver didn’t know where a main intersection in the city was – he then admitted it was his brother’s cab and he was just filling in even though he was new to the city+country with no directional sense or license.

    There is NO comparison between the two services.

    • laughtiger

      “he then admitted it was his brother’s cab and he was just filling in”

      In other words, he wasn’t even a licensed cabdriver. The point that you and others are missing is that the TNCs will lead to taxi deregulation, which will result in more of the sort of experiences you are complaining about.

      • NunyaGDbidness

        Not if we stop taking cabs ;)

        • laughtiger

          Which would be bad news for Lyft, etc. which are gambling that you will take more cabs (theirs).

          • NunyaGDbidness

            Haters gonna hate.

          • laughtiger

            Is that why your avatar is flipping everyone off? You do realize you can’t catch a cab that way, no matter whether it’s licensed or not…

          • NunyaGDbidness

            I don’t need to catch a cab when I can grab a Sidecar or Lyft ride.

          • laughtiger

            And if you are not paying attention, the point is that those are also cabs, though with less regulatory oversight.

    • http://www.pinkonthecheek.com/ Lauren

      Hello!

      I wanted to personally reach out and offer you $20 to try our app, Flywheel.

      Open the app, request a ride, and watch your cab approach on the map. Forget the hassles of cash or credit. When you arrive, just get out. You’ve automatically paid the metered rate + a tip of your choice.

      All you need to do is download ‘Flywheel’ from your Android or iPhone and put in promo code ‘lauren’. I hope we can help change your mind about using SF cabs!

      • NunyaGDbidness

        But it’s cabs versus TNC’s? No thanks.

      • itsvictor

        I feel bad for Flywheel, attaching itself to a dying business model and all.

  • Rupert

    You cannot kill an industry that does not exist. The “taxi industry” in San Francisco is all but a joke – you can never find a taxi when you need one. I wouldn’t have to resort to using 3rd party apps like Lyft or Uber if the city increased the number of medallions and also the taxi companies implemented similar “taxi finding” apps like Lyft or Uber. I don’t really care what service I use, I’d be happy to use a regular taxi if I can get one. Its just that the lack of cabs in SF forces us to use 3rd party services. Its a shame.

    • http://www.pinkonthecheek.com/ Lauren

      Hello Rupert! Have you tried ‘Flywheel’ to hail a cab in San Francisco? Flywheel puts fleets of cabs right at your fingertips!
      Flywheel allows the passenger to call the driver, rate the ride, and even pay and tip all through the app! Use promo code ‘lauren’ for $20 off your first ride with us. I would love to hear your experience on using our service!

    • Mrjhnsn

      Rupert, if 50% of SF cabs are available during 90% of any day its not a supply issue. Its a communication issue. Drivers are more than happy to pick someone up in a far flung neighborhood if they are already out there. Get Flywheel and use some brain cells and a cab is always easy to find.

      • NunyaGDbidness

        “Use some brain cells” – spoken like a true a-hole SF cabby. No thanks, I’ll keep using Sidecar or Lyft and not get the crappy attitude.

        • William@SC

          And we at SC/Lyft/UX apperiates your business!

          • NunyaGDbidness

            Keep providing such an excellent level of customer service and you’ve got a customer for life! Thanks for giving us an alternative! (and please offer more service in Oakland!)

  • http://www.everybodyhatesatourist.net/ Jonathan

    It all comes down to service. Some cab drivers refuse to go to certain areas of the city, discriminate against gay people, say their credit card machine is “broken”, and drive like maniacs. I am nearly run over by taxi cabs running red lights, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, or not signaling almost every day. I have never seen this from a rideshare car. I know it’s a tough industry, and I do feel bad for the good drivers out there. But in my experience, that’s maybe 10-20% of cab drivers. They should be mad at their counterparts who provide bad service, as they are the ones that are motivating people to look elsewhere.

    • Mrjhnsn

      Cab drivers do not discriminate against gay people… we have no idea what your sexual orientation is when we see that hand go up. In fact if anything we prefer gays because they are generally much nicer and tip better than the straight people in the Marina or Russian Hill. We definitely discriminate against drunken fools of any type plus most of the time people are trying to flag a full cab while empty ones pass behind them. Thats not discrimination, its called passenger stupidity.

      • MattMihaly

        Your attitude is why people dislike the taxi industry in San Francisco. It’s time for an inefficient, crappy industry to give way to disruptors that actually think about the end-user experience.

        • Mrjhnsn

          My attitude? So I have a bad attitude because I don’t want to be treated like crap by you or talked to like I am your servant? Taxi drivers all around the world hate Americans because Americans treat cabbies worse than anyone else. In the 6 years i have been driving and dispatching I have seen absolutely deplorable behavior by the public many times worse than the BS you all are spouting about how cabbies are soooo bad. If you risked your life for 10 hours a day for very little money and were treated like garbage by 30% of your customers you would likely be a little cranky by the end of your shift. TNCs are an attack on the very honorable blue collar job of taxi driver because young self entitled millennials are a: too good to drive a cab, b: dirty immigrants shouldn’t have an opportunity to work, c: you would much rather have someone be beholden to you by way of a rating system so you can be a jerk and they can’t kick you out.

          Back to my so called “attitude”… In the over 54,000 rides I have given to over 100,000 passengers I have only had 2 complaints. Thats 0.00002% of my passengers.
          In the 250,000+ miles and 16,000+ hours I have driven as a cabbie in this city I have had 1 at fault accident, which in the same amount of hours and miles driven by a typical driver they statistically will have 3 times as many at fault accidents.

          So when you say drivers like me are the problem you are most definitely wrong.

          • MattMihaly

            Yes, you have a bad attitude and are exactly why people like me use TNCs (along with the fact that TNC cars tend to be cleaner, actually show up promptly when called, can be ordered with a simple app that doesn’t require talking to a rude dispatcher, and just invisibly bills me).

            If taxi drivers were doing such a great job, you’d have nothing to worry about from TNCs.

            But SF cabbies are afraid, for good reason – your service is inferior and you’d rather try to cut out the superior competition than improve your own service.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Cabs were able to be ordered with an APP long before any of the TNCs existed. With Flywheel you can order a cab and not only will it show up, you pay with the app and have the ability to rate the driver and comment on the ride. Just like all of you want. Cabs are also required by law to be hybrid unlike the polluting and congestion causing TNCs. Cabs are also required by law to be no older than 3 years not 13 like a TNC. So when you get in an accident in a cab the airbags actually work and there are many more than a 10 year old TNC car that may or may not have had regular maintenance over its lifetime unlike a cab that gets serviced almost daily. This constant whining by TNC lovers that cabs are “dirty” just cracks me up. I ride in cabs twice a day or more and the only “dirty” cabs I have seen are spare cabs for when the cab linked to the medallion is in the shop.

            Your claim that TNCs are “superior” is just plain comical. The cabbies that get their licenses revoked are all driving TNCs now along with all the suburban drivers that really should not be driving in the city, going the wrong way on one way streets, blocking bus stops, blocking bike lanes, blocking the bus and taxi lanes, double parking like a cab and all without the training that a cabbie goes through to make sure they are safely loading and unloading, in a conspicuously marked vehicle that everyone knows is going to be making sudden stops and driving maneuvers that other drivers do not.

          • MattMihaly

            No reason for the SF taxi association to lobby to restrict TNCs then, right? They’ll just die off on their own, because taxis are superior and users don’t prefer TNCs to taxis. Right?

            Good luck with that.

          • MikeCarrick

            TNC is to Taxi as
            Blog is to Newspaper.

            Just because a service is “socialized” does NOT make it better.
            I vote for a regulated industry with green vehicle requirements.

            Comments upon your “attitude” are petty, but do not lose heart. I will always take a taxi to and from SFO. I tried public transit. It blows. This is just one more assault on the working class, and people will regret it if they destroy this industry. Who gets the rides then? Only people with I Phones? Great. Just what we need.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Thank you for the kind words. Thank you for your support of the hard working cabbie.
            The lack of regulation and enforcement ability makes the TNC model ripe for abuse. The CPUC has a horrendous track record for public safety and with just 5 safety investigators for the third largest and most populous state in the US, they do not have the ability to enforce the existing regulations. Adding 3 times as many potential violators to the road is grossly irresponsible.

          • itsvictor

            Working class people are driving Lyft & Sidecar, too, believe it or not. Evolve or die. If taxi drivers wanted to follow the money like any savvy person would do, there’s nothing stopping them from driving for the TNCs.

          • laughtiger

            Don’t fall for these trolls Mr Johnson, they are just trying to antagonize you and weaken your spirit.

          • Mrjhnsn

            I am having fun dismantling their braindead arguments. When someone as clueless as they are tries to argue with me about transportation in SF and the law they will lose every time. As you know I am extremely knowledgeable about this industry and the effects that the TNCs are having both in the courtroom and on the street.

  • Andrew

    They claim safety is an issue? That’s a joke. I have feared for my life in many cab rides. I have never felt unsafe in an UberX or Lyft ride. Maybe taxi drivers should be rated like they are in ride share cars and we could see better service. I won’t ever get back in a cab, too many bad experiences, versus zero.

    • ANON DESI

      Yeah, I also thought the same, until one damned lyft ride was in a car (rated 5*) smelling weed. Haven’t ever been in a cab that smells like weed/alcohol, ever.

      • Andrew

        You are in SF, many people carry weed on them. If he was obviously stoned and driving erratically I would then be concerned. One car smelling like weed versus an infinite amount of bad cab rides. I’ll drop the cabs still.

        • ANON DESI

          This happened when I visited SF. And I don’t smoke, never smoked weed. So, for me its as good as DUI.

          Its a bummer that I was so excited (no good cabs where I live, but no ridesharing either) to see all these ridesharing services work so well (I became a fan of Sidecar after the weed incident), only to let one bad event push be back to cabs.

          • Andrew

            Just to clarify, smelling weed is different than someone smoking weed. If someone had a closed bottle of booze in the back it wouldn’t be a problem, the difference is that a closed bag of unsmoked weed still smells. But I do agree with you that stoned people shouldn’t be driving anyone anywhere.

          • ANON DESI

            I may have over reacted to the weed incident. Had no idea that smoked/unsmoked weed smell the same. probably weed not a for SF locals.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            I have been in MANY cabs that reeked of weed, and in a few cases, the driver had clearly just smoked. I myself smoke, so I know what it smells like. Regardless, whether *I* smoke or not, I don’t want my driver to be stoned.

      • Brandon

        You’ve never been in a cab that smells like weed? I see you’re not local, but cabs that smell like weed are pretty common in SF. And I’m not talking “it smells in the bag”, I’m talking the driver was just smoking it.

        Ditto with cars reeking of smoke, though I guess that’s not a “DUI” issue.

        My personal favorite was the cab that smelled like someone had just pissed in it. That was the last cab ride I took, I’ve had enough.

        Granted, I use Uber and not the TNC’s, but the cars are clean, the drivers unfailingly polite. And I can get one from my house without either walking a mile to the nearest place I can easily get a cab or waiting an unknown amount of time for dispatch… as if you can even get through to the dispatch numbers on a weekend night.

      • mamiel

        I’ve actually seen a SF taxi driver toke up at a light once. Admittedly it was like 20 years ago

    • Geotron VonDoja

      Uber cars are regulated and are assigned PUC numbers, the white ones on their bumpers. They also have to comply with the insurance requirements set forth for every vehicle, not some mysterious blanket umbrella policy that Lyft insists it has. I would use Uber over Lyft anyday personally. Lawyers are licking their lips at the first chance a Lyft car gets into a major accident and dig into that umbrella, let me tell you.

    • Ryan

      Safety is just the easy go-to for these guys whenever this issue comes up. It’s the same thing that the BART Union cries about when they don’t have real facts to back up their arguments.

  • tim12s

    One bonus of Uber, Lyft et al? They’re gender & colour-blind. Yeah, SF cabs are mad racist.

    • laughtiger

      That’s pretty funny considering the large number of taxi drivers who are immigrant, and the fact that a lot of these statements against taxi drivers boil down to just that — anti-immigrant stereotypes.

      And whereas it is illegal for taxicabs to discriminate, the TNCs BUILD DISCRIMINATION INTO THEIR SYSTEM through profiling and rating. I put that into all caps because people seem to fail to understand it.

      • tim12s

        Please explain to me why my wife (who is African-American) has repeatedly had cabs ignore her or pull up – and then drive off.

        She has had to rely on Uber because she knows the cabs will turn up on a dark, wet street when SHE wants it, and (reasonably) secure in the knowledge that the driver won’t peel out when they see who she is.

        And if the driver turns out to be a creeper who follows her to our front door (as has happened to other people I know with regular SF cabbies) she has a record on her phone, on her computer and in her emails of who that jerk was. Not so, with some random cabbie.

        Ditto, if she was to forget her purse or other belongings in the car.

        In fact – laughtiger – please show me where in my post where I make ANY kind of anti-immigrant statements. Aren’t you the one making the broad generalisation that most taxi-drivers are immigrants? And by extension, building some straw-man argument that if you don’t like SF cabs you’re somehow anti-immigrant?

        Here’s what *I* don’t like about SF cabs – racism towards my wife aside – driving at dangerous speeds, running red lights and stop-signs, almost hitting pedestrians, wrecked suspension that makes me think I’ll be pissing blood when I get home later, torn seats, denying me rides because they’re “not going that way” before I get in the cab, dispatchers lying repeatedly about when & where my cab is.

        • laughtiger

          The difference is that when the taxi pulls up and then leaves, you can tell that it happened. If TNC drivers look at your profile and choose not to pick you up, you never know this happened.

          Laws against profiling — racial, sexual, or of any kind — have a long history and were designed to place a limit on the ability of taxi or limo drivers to perform this kind of abuse. The profiling built into the system by the TNCs erases all this progress, and does it in a way that makes you and me, the customers, not even aware it is happening.

          There are taxi apps available (Flywheel, Taxi Magic, and Uber Taxi) which give you the same ability to track and rate your driver. But they do not give the driver the ability to profile you, and this is the major protection that the TNCs lack.

          And no, it’s not a straw man argument but a fact, that when many people complain about taxi drivers they are complaining about immigrants. That has been true for a long time.

          • laughtiger

            And when you do encounter a taxi driver that denies you service because of your color, gender, or sexuality, you can and should take down their cab number and report them to the MTA.

            They can lose their jobs for that. Mind you, they’ll probably just go work for Lyft or Sidecar.

          • stimpee525

            This is all fair and good in theory but not in practice. It’s 2 a.m. you may or may not be drunk and exhausted. A cab has just sped off at break neck speed. Are you going to call 311 and waste several minutes reporting a number you may or may not have accurately recorded on a taxi that’s long gone onto the next fare? Or will you be trying to figure out some way ANY way to get home?

            BTW if these laws were so well enforced there wouldn’t be a need for HoMobiles either.

          • laughtiger

            The point is, there are rules and institutions in place to restrict the ability of cabdrivers to discriminate, and punish them when they do; also, it is obvious when they discriminate. TNCs, on the other hand, give drivers the tools to discriminate, and the customer may not even be aware it happened.

            Enforcement is going to be much worse now, because the PUC has less resources than the MTA, while regulating the entire state. The MTA does respond to taxi driver complaints (and yes they have to be properly documented, but there is also surveillance cameras and the GPS/electronic waybill to track the vehicle and verify complaints). The PUC in contrast will not have the resources to follow up on TNC complaints.

            Homobiles is not a TNC; and they are fairly small as far as I know. Any trouble with a driver could probably be resolved by calling up homobiles and telling them about it. Because Homobiles seems to be a real community, they can be expected to police themselves to some extent. Not so the TNCs, which are focused on growth right now and experiencing high driver turnover.

          • El-D

            I’ve reported a handful of taxis for various bad behaviors, and I never had an inkling that anything happened to them.

          • Mrjhnsn

            if you reported them to 311 the report was looked at and investigated by one of the 8 investigators at the SFMTA to determine if the report is legitimate. If it is they admonish, suspend, or revoke drivers. The reason you call is to catalog the complaints. The majority of the complaints are unfounded but if a number of the same type of complaints come in about a specific driver, there will most certainly be a revocation or suspension. In fact there are a large number of drivers that have had their permits revoked and are now driving for one of the TNCs. Do you really want a failed cabbie driving you around in a questionably insured vehicle?

          • NunyaGDbidness

            So why are most of my TNC drivers persons of color or from other countries versus white people? And why are they far friendlier and safer than the cabbies? Please explain to me why that is the case. By the way, I use TNC’s literally almost daily and have for the last few years…so, my anecdotal evidence is vast.

          • laughtiger

            Because they ARE cabdrivers.

        • Mrjhnsn

          “Wrecked suspension” um all SF taxis are less than 3 years old, and hybrid. “Racist” behaviors, easy to avoid with Flywheel. “Driving at dangerous speeds”… cabbies have less accidents per mile and hour driven than EVERY OTHER DRIVER ON THE ROAD, so I think cabbies know what a safe speed is to get your self important person home quickly so you don’t vomit in our cab. and as a dispatcher, calling us liars “about where YOUR cab is”, is just plain offensive, lets see you herd 250 cats at once while all the mice are cussing at you because they can get to the club and get wasted.

          • itsvictor

            It sounds like you hate your taxi job more than any of the riders here dislike taxicabs. Perhaps consider your complete disdain for passengers as a reason why many people have turned to Lyft type services.

          • Mrjhnsn

            I dont have disdain for passengers at all. I love driving a cab and lately all the people i get as customers are fantastic. All the reasons Lyft uses to sell the drivers on driving for them is exactly why I fell in love with the business. All the drivers I know and meet at the cab yard are amazing, hard working people just like you, with families, hobbies, other jobs, fantastic educations. I know one that was a Mig21 fighter pilot that flew his plane to defect to the US. Another driver I know of was a 4 star general in the Soviet army and he emigrated here after the fall. One driver I know had a fashion line in the 80s that was immensely popular and was worn by celebrities, she also has 3 degrees one of them a masters. I have two other businesses and drive only on the weekends because its more fun for me than going out drinking in bars or clubbing. So for many cab drivers its not a JOB, they do it because they love it and for some its a career they have been doing since before people like John ZImmer were born. We don’t hate our passengers, we love 95% of them, its the 5% that we dislike and get pissed about.

            Also I haven’t had to eject someone in almost a year. All the people that used to be problems (treating me like their b—, trying to sniff coke, leaving beer cans behind, vomiting, etc) all seem to be taking the TNCs.

    • DTabb

      No I think they have been allowed to be nasty because they were the only option besides a bus. That time is over you can now have a great ride and enjoy courtesy,cleanliness and good company for 1/2 the cost WOW! to brainier!! this code was given to me to pass out to my friends for $10.00 off a ride with Lyft 5v572H try it and see how you like it.

  • Tony Lyft

    As a Lyft driver I must say, after driving for the past 2 months almost every day, it’s appalling to see what scum bags MOST of the taxi drivers are. They flip us off on a daly basis, cut us off, and I’ve heard several stories of them trying to start fights with (lyft) drivers in traffic while they’ve had passengers in their cars. I don’t feel bad for them one bit. I hope the ride-share movement puts them all on their asses.

    • laughtiger

      BTW you are a taxi driver. Just be clear on that. If you were ridesharing you would not be charging money for the rides you give.

    • Mrjhnsn

      Your comments about cabbies flipping you off… we hate you because you are illegally stealing our money and making it hard to feed our kids…. plus we have video of multiple Uber and Lyft drivers getting aggressive with cabbies to the point of actual assault.

      • dtabb

        I don’t think Lyft or Uber are stealing from you!!! No I think Cabbies have been allowed to be nasty because they were the only option besides a bus. That time is over you can now have a great ride and enjoy courtesy,cleanliness and good company for 1/2 the cost WOW! to brainier!! I have heard so may wonderful stories about Ride shares,myself and most of my friends will never go back to cabs until they change the way they treat people. ***this code was given to me to pass out to my friends for $10.00 off a ride with Lyft 5v572H try it and see how you like it.

        • dtabb

          “plus we have video of multiple Uber and Lyft drivers getting aggressive with cabbies to the point of actual assault.” LOL, Show us your video-post it on you tube so the world can see this and I might change my mind a bit…but the concern is how you treat your passengers that pay you! No Respect NO Money!

        • Mrjhnsn

          Well actually when you have illegal businesses taking money that rightfully belongs to legal businesses then it is stealing. Its gonna really suck for you and your friends when you are forced to go back to cabs because Lyft and the like get shut down. Currently Lyft and Uber are both being sued by their drivers in federal court for extensive labor violations and unfair business practices.

          Cabbies have never been “allowed to be nasty”. When you treat someone in the way that all you little TNC lovers treat cabbies you are bound to get some attitude back. When someone treats me like garbage in my cab they will be walking.

          The reason why Lyft and Sidecar cost less than a cab (UberX is exactly cab rates and with surge pricing BTW) is because they lack proper insurance. When you get injured in a TNC car the personal insurance will not cover you and the TNCs so called insurance won’t either because the driver did something wrong. If you get injured in a cab there is $1,000,000 available to cover your hospital bills and other damages, for every passenger. Taxi rates are set by the city to insure that the vehicles have proper insurance and that the driver can make a living.

          • itsvictor

            Stop calling them ‘illegal’, because it’s just not true. Also, money does not just “rightfully belong” to cab companies – you have to provide a service that people actually want to use so that people will WANT to pay you. The stranglehold of the old cab system is over – people will not go back to the way it was.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Actually they are “illegal”… SFTC 1105.a(1) Permits Required. No person, business, firm, partnership, association or corporation shall drive, or operate or cause to be operated any Motor Vehicle For Hire within the City, nor shall any person, business, firm, partnership, association or corporation operate any Dispatch Service or Color Scheme, without a permit issued by the SFMTA authorizing such driving or operation in accordance with this Article.

            https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/city/ca/SanFrancisco/Transportation%20Code/Division%202/article1100.html

            The money rightfully and legally belongs TO THE CAB DRIVERS.
            The cab companies don’t make money off the customers, their customers are the cab drivers.

            Stranglehold…. thats funny…. taxis have been regulated for over 400 years and have been regulated in SF for 100+. Its hardly a stranglehold. Regulation is for the benefit of the public and the drivers serving the public. There are always new issues that crop up and they get addressed and regulations get fine tuned over decades. This industry is not a “monopoly”. Its an industry with thousands of small independent businesses (each cab driver) that is being run over by a few companies that want to dominate transportation for hire all over the nation. So this is actually the opposite of disruption. Its corporate greed running out the little guy while taking advantage of the working poor, a lot like Walmart.

            KNOW YOUR FACTS.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Actually they are “illegal”… SFTC 1105.a(1) Permits Required. No person, business, firm, partnership, association or corporation shall drive, or operate or cause to be operated any Motor Vehicle For Hire within the City, nor shall any person, business, firm, partnership, association or corporation operate any Dispatch Service or Color Scheme, without a permit issued by the SFMTA authorizing such driving or operation in accordance with this Article.
            https://law.resource.org/pub/u
            The money rightfully and legally belongs TO THE CAB DRIVERS.
            The cab companies don’t make money off the customers, their customers are the cab drivers.
            Stranglehold…. thats funny…. taxis have been regulated for over 400 years and have been regulated in SF for 100+. Its hardly a stranglehold. Regulation is for the benefit of the public and the drivers serving the public. There are always new issues that crop up and they get addressed and regulations get fine tuned over decades. This industry is not a “monopoly”. Its an industry with thousands of small independent businesses (each cab driver) that is being run over by a few companies that want to dominate transportation for hire all over the nation. So this is actually the opposite of disruption. Its corporate greed running out the little guy while taking advantage of the working poor, a lot like Walmart.
            KNOW YOUR FACTS.

            They will have to go back to “the way it was” because de-regulation NEVER works and they will ultimately be shut down or forced to comply with the law. The taxi industry wil be better off in the long term as a result of all this garbage because its teaching the drivers and passengers alike to be nicer to each other.

            Did you know that a number of cab drivers that have had their licenses revoked are now driving for TNCs? These are the guys you DO NOT want driving you and now you are riding with them again.

        • Mrjhnsn

          Since you gave us all a code for Lyft here is one for 10$ credit with Flywheel: RF6YNH

      • NunyaGDbidness

        Nice story bro. Too bad we know you’re a fat fatty liar.

        • Mrjhnsn

          so I’m a “liar” and “a-hole” because I speak the truth and you don’t like what I have to say. Real mature. Besides, what am I “lying” about?

          • NunyaGDbidness

            Let’s see proof of the TNC drivers behaving like you claim they do. If it was a serious deal it’d be all over the news…and it’s not. So either you’re lying, or you’re exaggerating greatly.

          • Mrjhnsn

            The news doesn’t care about this stuff.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            All that shows is a bunch of jerks trying to bait someone into an argument. Yawn.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Actually it shows a bunch of people including a Lyft driver trying to bait the cabbie into a fight.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            Maybe if there was more to the video I might buy that, but since there’s no context around it, that;’s not at all the way it comes off.

            p.s. if you find people doing something illegal try letting the police handle it instead of trying to play street cop with your little cell phone camera

          • Mrjhnsn

            That was not me that shot the video and the police are not going to respond to a blocked crosswalk call when they have more important stuff to worry about.
            The person who was shooting the video was just documenting for the CPUC since the CPUC does not have any way to enforce ANY of their regulations.

  • stimpee525

    *shrugs* they should have thought about that after years of “broken credit card machines,” passing up brown people just trying to get home vs. the gaggle of Marina Chicks clearly just starting their evening, did I mention practically acting like you kicked their dog when you call dispatch wondering why a cab hasn’t turned up after waiting for an hour?

    And let’s not even start on SFO shenanigans if you don’t live in SF.

    Sorry boys, I’ll stick with Uber.

  • stimpee525

    Oh funny how NYC has Uber and their taxi industry is flourishing…

    • Geotron VonDoja

      They also have a much larger scale and customer base than we do. It’s all relative.

  • Helen Ann Hebert

    And I thought flipping someone off was a ticketable road rage offense. I’m going to start taking photos of cabbies flipping me the bird while I’m Lyfting and sending to their company and their insurance carrier. Two can play at this game.

    • Geotron VonDoja

      Um. If they’re licensed cabbies they’re likely properly insured (regulations and all). And I’m sure their bosses will just laugh at the picture and post it on a wall inside their offices. I used Lyft a few times before I learned about the insurance thing, and then felt uneasy about it after recalling one driver that drove a little bit faster and braked a little harder than I felt they should (but we were having fun). Having an insurance background I know, unless your carrier knows and you are paying for a commercial auto policy as a livery service, there would be no coverage for me or you under it. I know this because I’ve personally denied such claims before. Not saying this is you in anyway, but I think it’s a valid concern.

    • Just the facts jack

      Perhaps if someone were stealing your money you would flip them off too. I am not condoning rude behavior, but let’s look at the facts. The city of San Francisco has capped the number of taxicabs at a ridiculously low number for years. It’s no wonder at near peak times you can’t get a cab. But to sell medallions and collect millions of dollars, and then allow “Joe (or Jane) I have no job” to go after the same fares is criminal. If they want to revamp the taxicab industry and improve it, I think everyone would be all for it. But handicapping the legitimate competitor would not be tolerated in any other industry. If you owned a licensed pharmacy and the PUC decided it was ok for someone to “connect” drug purchasers with unlicensed dealers would that be ok? How about all those sharp bankers using the apps. Would it be ok if the SEC regulated your business, but allowed your competition to bypass all of the fees associated with compliance? How long until you were driving that pink mustache car instead of riding in the back seat? No one is asking for protectionism, just a level playing field and a “fare” return for the millions of dollars collected by the city for taxi medallion sales.

    • Mrjhnsn

      I have a pic of me taken by a lyft driver flipping me off… cab company gave it to me and 311 called me to ask about the incident. We all had a great laugh at Lyft’s expense. Thanks for your plate# too, you should be getting a letter from your insurance company soon warning you they will be dropping you. Also if you have a loan on your car or lease you are violating those terms and could even have your car repossessed….. so take all the pictures you want. I’m the legal and insured one. you are just a bandit.

    • Ellie

      I hope you won’t be taking pictures while you are behind the wheel…

  • vetipie

    This is curious to me. I have 4 friends who drive SF taxi’s and none of them have noticed a drop in their income in their 10 hours shifts. Cabs pick up at airports and hotels and take flags from anyone in the street, that niche will always be there.

  • laughtiger

    It is absolutely untrue that TNCs mean the end of the taxi industry. What they really represent is the unfettered expansion of a deregulated taxi system. Instead of regulations controlling the numbers of cabs, we now have the free market allowing untold numbers to come onto the street. The PUC may have set up some very minimal requirements but they have no enforcement capacity to make sure they are followed. And if you trust Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar to police themselves — well, that’s pretty gullible but let’s say they do. What about the other five or ten “ridesharing” companies that surge onto the scene? The streets are open to any fly-by-night company to put as many unmarked and uninspected cars on the streets as they can. These services will be less accountable than today, not more.

    Not to mention that several of the ex-taxi drivers who now work for sidecar and lyft were fired from driving a taxi, and switched to the less-regulated service. These services already have the bottom-of-the-barrel taxi drivers. And as more services come online they will lower their standards in the competition for drivers. You can put money on it.

    Down the line taxi deregulation always fails for a number of reasons, and new regulations get put into place. Someday, the survivors of the current round — Lyft, Uber — will be known as “taxi companies” and regulated much the way Yellow, DeSoto, etc. are today. In the meantime you can expect service levels to rise and then crash, along with driver and vehicle standards. Soon all the same stereotypical complaints people now make about taxi drivers will be made about TNC drivers.

    And when that happens — in less than five years tops — remember this: I told you so.

  • baklazhan

    You want to help cab drivers? How about lowering– or eliminating– gate fees? The idea that workers should have to pay for the privilege to work is outdated and wrong. Sure, if the driver is renting the car, the company should be able to charge a reasonable amount, and to charge for a dispatch service– but the current $100 per shift is ridiculous.

  • Kingsley

    Hi, Kingsley from Flywheel here. First, thanks to the author, Jon Brooks, for the in-depth article about how ride-sharing is impacting the taxi community. As mentioned in the article, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies have the same goal as those who carry medallions in their cabs: to provide safe and reliable transportation from point A to point B.

    It is one thing to talk about safety and reliability and it is another to execute on such a mission. Taxi drivers are trained professionals who are licensed by the government to pick up passengers. This license can be taken away if the driver happens to be the bad apple of the group.

    It is a SFMTA requirement to have a camera in each taxi as a mean of accountability for both passengers and drivers. If an incident occurs, there is video evidence. Each vehicle and driver carries insurance that protects occupants in the event of an accident. There is no guessing as to whether or not taxis and their drivers are fully insured, it is a government requirement.

    Are passengers riding in a Lyft or other ride-sharing vehicle covered in an accident? Are driver’s cars covered by Lyft or their own insurance during these events? I don’t know the answer, but I’d like to know. I’m sure everything is pink mustaches and fist bumps when things are going well, but what happens when there’s a bad apple in the group? Will he or she have their license removed? Can he or she join a competitor and continue driving?

    There are a lot of unanswered questions about ride-sharing and it’d be great to get some visibility on it. Here’s an article that might point to some answers of when things don’t go right when taking a ride-share:

    http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/08/08/lawsuit-over-injury-airborne-fire-hydrant-tests-uber%E2%80%99s-insurance-practices

    Fully disclosure: I work for Flywheel but the opinions expressed above are mine and do not reflect the views of Flywheel.

    • NunyaGDbidness

      Taxis in SF are “safe” and driven by “trained professionals”? You coulda fooled me by the sheer volume of white knuckle inducing, terror filled rides I have had at the hands of cabbies – cabbies who will be backed by their cab companies even when they have been very much in the wrong. I’ll pass on Taxis and Flywheel.

  • OG

    I consider myself a fairly strong supporter of worker rights and, well, basically supporting the working man/woman. That siad, I think the cab industry has basically itself to blame. I travel via SFO at least two or three times per month and almost always have to cab it to and from the airport. Driving and parking at SFO can be quite time consuming so I ofetn opt for getting a cab/ride. Up until about a year ago when I thought my only option was dealing with Yellow Cab Cooperative or Luxor Cabs, I thoroughly dreaded the process of scheduling a cab and then actually taking the cab to the airport. Just calling and ordering a cab was an unpleasant experience. Operators were snotty, put you on hold forever, and would never give you a straight answer on when a cab would arrive. Then they launched their own app or scheduling TaxiMagic whcih was effectiver for like 2 weeks before can drivers would intentionally akte your order, then cancel it so no other driver could respond to you and you were beholden to them. The most stressful part was taking a cab home from SFO at like after a 5 or 6 hour flight. If I would ask that they take a certain route, chances were the driver would act offended. If I didn’t identify a route and didn’t pay attention, before I knew it they were taking the super long way into SF (my palce) via Junipero Serra or via 280 – easily adding $8 to $12 to the fare. A simple question or request that they take a different route or exit could easily lead to an arguement. Then there’s the issue of trying to hail a cab in the city itself. As a Latino male, I cannot count the numer of times an empry cabbie would pass me up if I wasn’t dressep in more traditional attire or wasn’t accompanied by a non-person of color friend. And now they are complaining and worrying about going out of business? I probably have been spending about $1,200 to $1,400 a year on cabs to and from SFO or within the City – and now, I plan to spend all of that on ride sharing outfits. Frankly, I’m not particularly moved or motivated to help preserve the cab industry. I called and wrote to customer service companies plenty of times and was ignored and dismissed every singel time I did so my attitude now is like “f— it”, too little, too late. Go Uber and go Lyfte!!

    • Dagmar

      As a longterm cab driver, I

      • NunyaGDbidness

        TNC drivers are all background checked, and their vehicle info plus a RECENT picture (not one from 20 years ago like most cabbies have) are on the app – along with a driver rating system. How is that LESS SAFE than a cabbie who barely speaks English, drives like a maniac, and could displaying any picture from any similar looking person? Especially someone from another country that is likely either on a work Visa, or potentially using someone else’s credentials? Let’s not even get into some of the smaller Medallion cabs in SF that are obviously run by the Russian mob. (SF Town Taxi anyone?)

  • OG

    I consider myself a fairly strong supporter of worker rights and, well, basically supporting the working man/woman. That said, I think the cab industry has basically itself to blame. I travel via SFO at least two or three times per month and almost always have to cab it to and from the airport. Driving and parking at SFO can be quite time consuming so I ofetn opt for getting a cab/ride. Up until about a year ago when I thought my only option was dealing with Yellow Cab Cooperative or Luxor Cabs, I thoroughly dreaded the process of scheduling a cab and then actually taking the cab to the airport. Just calling and ordering a cab was an unpleasant experience. Operators were snotty, put you on hold forever, and would never give you a straight answer on when a cab would arrive. Then they launched their own app for scheduling – TaxiMagic – which was effective for like 2 weeks before cab drivers started intentionally taking your order, then cancel it so no other driver could respond to you and then you were beholden to them. The most stressful part was taking a cab home from SFO at like 11:00 pm after a 5 or 6 hour flight. At that point, I just wanted to get home safe and sound with no hassles. If I would ask that they take a certain route, chances were the driver would act offended. If I didn’t identify a route and didn’t pay attention, before I knew it they were taking the super long way into SF (my place) via Junipero Serra or via 280 – easily adding $8 to $12 to the fare. A simple question or request that they take a different route or exit could easily lead to an argument – when all I wanted was to get home in peace (and in one piece). Then there’s the issue of trying to hail a cab in the City itself. As a Latino male, I cannot count the numer of times an empty cabbie would pass me up if I wasn’t dressed up in more traditional business attire or wasn’t accompanied by a non-person of color friend. And now they are complaining and worrying about going out of business? I probably have been spending about $1,200 to $1,400 a year on cabs to and from SFO or within the City – and now, I plan to spend all of that on ride sharing outfits. Frankly, I’m not particularly moved or motivated to help preserve the cab industry. I called and wrote to their customer service department plenty of times and was ignored and dismissed every single time I did so my attitude now is like “f— it”, too little, too late. It’s like the rest of us, don’t want to lose your job? Then do your part and make sure you’re good at it and don’t be a d*ck to other people. I say go Uber and go Lyfte!!

    • Mrjhnsn

      “TaxiMagic – which was effective for like 2 weeks before cab drivers started intentionally taking your order, then cancel it so no other driver could respond to you and then you were beholden to them.”… Sorry dude you are very wrong… what you are describing is a flaw in how the software gives the user feedback and how the software interacts with the dispatch systems. Taxi Magic does not update you when a driver has returned the order to match with another driver. Furthermore when there are 500 orders an hour flooding in from TaxiMagic to a fleet with 220 cabs, there is going to be a significant number of orders that do not get responded to and dispatch will cancel your order out of necessity. From the driver’s perspective an order is a 50/50 chance that someone will be there, a virtual hand in the air. We sometimes recognize regular orders and will go out of our way to get them. TaxiMagic was equally effective for the drivers and passengers alike until suddenly everyone could afford a smartphone, then you had people using it like a novelty or abusing it at corners where you should just put your hand in the air, effectively clogging the system and bringing down the reliability for everyone.

      As far as your “racial profiling” experience being a latino male, I find that highly suspect. Cabbies do have profiles of tipping types based on race and for latinos its very favorable, so if you were being passed up by a taxi with the available light on (not the ad light) it was likely due to how you were presenting yourself or even, and more likely, where you were flagging. We are far more likely to pass up people on certain blocks at certain times because our personal data points show that someone that looks like X standing at Y at Z time is going to destination CD or E and we want or need to be headed in the A or B direction. The one exception is the new to the US asian drivers that will not pick up black people at all, or muslims passing up someone with a dog for religious reasons, two behaviors that eventually subside after a few years in the industry.

      Don’t make assumptions about things you know nothing about. I don’t assume to know how a doctors’ office works or how a mechanic’s business works either and I don’t complain when the doctor makes me wait or the mechanic says he can get the part till next week…

      • NunyaGDbidness

        So…it’s up to the person getting a ride to go stand on a corner and fight for one of the 220 cabs on the street…that’s how it works huh? And you wonder why people are flocking to TNC’s. You’re a GREAT example of everything absolutely wrong with the SF taxi industry. Congratulations for being the poster boy of the A-Hole taxi driver. Make mine Sidecar or Lyft *any day of the week*.

        • Mrjhnsn

          Its up to the person looking for a cab to open their eyes and use some common sense to get a cab. When you are a drunken fool running into the street waving your arms around like we can’t see you, no one is going to pick you up. Also according to San Francisco Transportation code I don’t have to pick you up or transport you if you are not presenting yourself in an orderly manner. So BY LAW you are required to not be an a-hole if you want a ride from a taxi. But since we are all dirty immigrant a-holes to you we don’t want you anyway. Go ride with an uninsured TNC driver and and risk your financial future. Oh, but wait…. all the cabbies that have had their licenses revoked by the city are driving for TNCs now, so you are still riding with the worst of the worst.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            Your assumption being that all of us out there looking for cabs are “drunken fools”. Again, proving that you’re just another a-hole cabby with an axe to grind. Keep acting like your “service” (with that appalling attitude) is worth something. Hint – it’s not. People like you who don’t have a CLUE about customer service are a dime a dozen.

          • Mrjhnsn

            ROTFLMAO… I don’t have a clue about customer service… really? That must be why I have only had 2 complaints of the over 100,000 people that have been in my cab. Must also be why people leave glowing yelp reviews about me and my businesses.
            In the last 20 years I have worked in telephone customer service, bars, restaurants, movie theaters and many other positions where I was dealing with the public and had to provide customer service and have always been complimented on my attention to providing good service. So your claims that I know nothing about customer service are completely asinine.

            I am definitely not saying that everyone looking for a cab is a “drunken fool”, only the ones who are actually behaving like a “drunken fool”. As a said before if you get passed up by a cab you think is available it could be for a number of reasons: a) your’e drunk and not presenting yourself in an orderly manner, b) you are flagging a cab that is at the end of their shift, c) you are flagging a cab that is on the way to an order and they are trying to service calls professionally and promptly (yes cabbies like that do exist), d) you might be flagging a cab that is already in service.

            Finally, taxis provide over 800,000 trips a year to the disabled and twice as many to the elderly. How many do TNCs provide? NONE. So when you say our service isn’t worth anything you are very very wrong.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            How many excuses can you give cabbies for not picking people up? How about when people book over the phone and the cab never arrives because they wanted that juicy $5 street fare instead (which, I hate to tell you, happens ALL THE TIME)? How about all of you cabbies that just refuse to drive “all the way out” to places like the Sunset or the Outer Richmond – even if the patron is perfectly sober, polite, and has the money to pay for the fare? The thing is – you cabbies all think you can be as selective as you want with who you pick up and when, and these TNC’s show up in a timely manner, and don’t throw a hissy fit about where they’re being asked to go. If you don’t understand why people are choosing these folks over cabbies, and just want to play the blame game and cry about how your business is hurt by it – TRY FIXING THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR INDUSTRY. Instead whiny people like yourself just point the finger at everyone but yourselves. I used to be a heavy cab user until the service in and around SF declined to the point where if I booked a cab over the phone I *might* get it an hour later, even when it was during non peak time hours. The amount of times I have had rude, obnoxious or dangerous cab rides is obscene. In the hundreds of TNC rides I have had, not ONCE have I experienced that. If you can’t recognize the SF cab system is a broken, ugly mess – then you’re either blind, or just plain ignorant. Fix the system and you’ll see more people using cabs again. Until then…maybe you should get a part time job.

          • Mrjhnsn

            These are not “excuses” these are facts. The reason you have trouble getting a cab when you call is because the current dispatching arrangement is completely broken and we have been asking for centralized dispatch for nearly 20 years. Also if a driver is driving to an order that has a 50/50 chance of being there its always better to take the ride thats 100% there (the flag on the street) than to waste gas and time going to an order that has a 50/50 chance of being there.
            You may also have a problem getting a cab when you call for one because you are in a location where the nearest available cab from the fleet you called is 2 miles away. Another reason we have been asking the city for centralized dispatch. Also when I have an order that hasn’t been filled in 30 minutes and I don’t hear back from the customer I am required to cancel the order until the customer calls back to insure that the orders are fresh for the drivers.

            I have been one of the loudest voices in the cab industry for change because when I started dispatching I immediately saw where the dysfunction was in the industry. I participate with the policy making process at the SFMTA and regularly meet with cab company owners, drivers, dispatchers and administrators to get the changes to the industry that will make it better for everyone. I also constantly admonish drivers for refusal to convey, refusing credit cards or blowing off orders that I have been working hard to fill. If you would just call 311 and report the cab number when drivers pull this s— we would be able to get the bad actors out of the industry quicker. Its a two way street for passengers and drivers alike. Everyone has to do their part and when someone doesn’t the system starts to break down.

            BTW I have two businesses outside of the cab industry.

          • NunyaGDbidness

            If you had any idea the amount of times I have reported bad drivers, drivers who won’t accept a form of payment that they advertise as accepting, etc. – your head would spin. You know how many times I wound up coming across those very same drivers who had been reported? MANY. So, apparently calling 311 and complaining doesn’t do much of anything.

            I had *several* cabbies tell me that in order to get a cab to arrive after calling dispatch, you should LIE to the dispatcher and tell them you’re going to the airport just to get them to show up – then change your destination once they arrived, otherwise they’d just skip your fare to pick up someone off the street. That is a HUGE problem. Chances are in an area like SF, if you are calling for a cab, you are sitting and waiting for that cab because you actually need a ride – not because you’re going to just up and leave 5 minutes after calling.

            This is why we choose TNC’s – if I call for one, I GET ONE. Not a half hour later, or an hour later, or not at all – they actually arrive. If they don’t feel like grabbing me, then they decline my ride in the app and the next driver picks up the ride – and voila…I STILL GET MY RIDE!

            Most of us folks who choose TNC’s over cabs do so specifically because it’s a nightmare trying to get a cab in the Bay Area, and we are folks who rely on car services quite a bit. I hope that if you are truly one of the folks pushing for change in the taxi industry, that you succeed – because then EVERYONE wins. But until the industry can actually function as intended, and the cabbies stop being so fairweather about who they pick up or when or where they will pick them up from, maybe folks like myself will be willing to go back to using cabs.

            Just as an FYI – I actually use Oakland cabs a good bit, and they are so much better about arriving (albeit late most of the time), that it’s like night and day. And these folks drive in OAKLAND. If SF cabs were as reliable, I’d still likely use them. They just aren’t.

          • William@SC

            I correct your NONE on the disable and elderly. I can’t speak for my colleagues but I have given a few myself.

          • Mrjhnsn

            Really? So you can get a full size motorized wheel chair in your car?
            A few with one guy, none having been a wheel chair vs 800k…. yeah sorry buddy taxis still have you beat.

          • William@SC

            I haven’t had an request with someone with a full motorized wheel chair. But I have given rides for people on wheel chairs.

            And no Taxis don’t have TNC beat. The market share shift “in terms of taxi driver moving to TNC, in terms of passenger requests” clearly shows a different picture.

            But best of luck =)

            If you don’t know where you are, you can’t get to where you want to go.

          • Mrjhnsn

            There is maybe one vehicle that can transport a motorized wheel chair in the Lyft fleet. There are 100 SF taxis that can do that. As far as your claims that passengers are coming to TNCs in droves you lack the data to back that claim up. In fact I am receiving more and more reports from cab drivers that their customers are returning to taxis once they learn of the lack of insurance and ride with a dum dum who has no idea how to drive in or navigate through the city (whereas thats all cab driver does). The “passenger requests” you are claiming are growing for TNCs I find highly doubtful considering I have spoken with many people who having tried one of the TNCs has switched back to cabs after one or two rides. While there has yet to be any empirical data on the true number of vehicles, drivers and passenger recidivism or adoption rates we can argue all day about this and neither of us will really truly be right. For now i would say my opinion out strips yours considering I am an actual informed expert on transportation in SF and you are just a clueless outsider.
            Taxi drivers are moving to TNCs only because they are trying to support a family and they need the lower overhead in an increasingly saturated market. Many of these drivers come back to taxis once they realize that the benefits of driving a legal cab outweigh the drawbacks.

            Your final sentence perfectly illustrates your arrogance and cluelessness. You DO NOT know about transportation for hire, you just think you do.

          • William@SC

            On the contrary I am told many times by passenger that with the advent of TNC they would never go back to the cab system.

            While this is by no means empirical data, but this does highlight what I say when passenger are going for TNC rather than Taxi.

            Lets assume the market is growing at a clip of 1-3% annually. And we take these statements into account.

            Our SF business continues to rapidly grow, at a healthy double-digit month over month % clip, in fact faster than our growth last year when we were far smaller. -Travis Kalanick UBER CEO

            - If what Travis say is real that double digit growth gotta come from somewhere if the market isn’t growing at the same rate.

            John Han, who drives for Yellow Cab, says he thinks cab companies are having a hard time filling shifts, and that a dispatcher recently told him he could work extra days with

            out having to go through the company’s lottery system. Han says he thinks “a fair share of taxi drivers have moved to Lyft, Sidecar and UberX.” – John Han Yellow Cab driver

            - I think John here has an idea where the markets going

            These SHITS are not long for this world as public opinion by majority is against them (I know this is hard to see when your $$$ is slashed by 50% as a result of their thievery), and having only 20-25 yo tech douche bags as your primary clientele really won’t get you too far in the long run. – Trevor Luxor dispatcher/driver/board of director/Mrjhnsn

            Now I am going to take an educated guess and say TNC is winning base on that assessment the above assessment. And no it’s not a freaking empirical findings. But sure as hell doesn’t seem like you are winning.

            “Your final sentence perfectly illustrates your arrogance and cluelessness. You DO NOT know about transportation for hire, you just think you do.” Man you don’t even know the irony of that coming from you LOL.

            When I wrote that sentence I was thinking how you guys screwed up. Your industry held a monopoly, if you ran it right other people can’t get in. But you drove your passenger to the alternatives. And if you are leading that ship, I feel for the company because you have no vision. Here is a summary of what is wrong with your company. Driver has no respect customers, dispatcher has no respect to customers, management has no respect to drivers. FUBAR to the max.

            These are some reviews from yelp regarding the company you work for. LUXOR

            Luxor 2 stars 342 reviews

            - I took Luxor cab from the airport. Upon dropping me at the hotel, the driver insisted that I must pay cash. -Sophia L.

            - I called the Luxor dispatcher as well as their complaint number but no one seemed to care about this guy. Thanks Luxor! Dyche M.

            - Dispatch connects me to the lost and found voicemail. Sean H.

            - Called Luxor and told the dispatcher we were on the corner of 9th and Lincoln. She said she needed a street address. I told her the name of the restaurant we were at on the corner of 9th and Lincoln.

            She responded ” call me back when you have an address”….Click…she hung up. Not to friendly, terrible service. Jeff C.

            - A Luxor driver made sure to roll down his window and call me a pussy for stopping at a red light and waiting for all the oncoming traffic to pass. Thank god there are alternative services like Lyft. Cab # 1026, bearded white male driver, 11:45pm 10/19/13 Guy S.

          • Guest

            The reason why customers are going over to UberX is largely that they are undercutting cabs and advertising all over the place that they are “Faster and Cheaper”. This is bound to add new users curious about the service. I have asked many passengers about this and they have all said that they do not use the service after the first few rides due to the drivers not knowing where they are going and surge pricing.
            Many of the drivers that have gone over to TNCs from cabs do it because they are sick of paying for the gate fee that includes proper commercial insurance ($1mil per occurrence) , vehicle maintenance (i had a nail in my tire the other night and got both front tires replaced in 30 min at 9pm), and workers comp. They get none of those at the TNCs. In fact there is zero job security with the TNCs. Uber drops drivers if they drop below 4.5 stars which is funny considering all the cabbies that have gone over there are the same ones that denied credit cards, wouldn’t go to the sunset and some of the former cabbies, including one who had his medallion revoked for sexual advances on a minor (and one for DUI) that have had licenses revoked by the SFMTA are also driving for TNCs.
            I will get back to your attack on my statements in a minute but first you need to understand a few things about the industry.
            - Taxi companies’ customers are the drivers, not the passengers.
            - the taxi industry is made up of thousands of small businesses (the individual cabbies)
            - The dispatch arrangement (I have been saying this for the last 6 years I have been dispatching) is horrible because it holds no one accountable making the calls the equivalent of speeding past a flag on the street only to come back around after deciding that they want that passenger and finding them gone.
            - Lost and found is not open 24 hours
            - Street addresses are REQUIRED BY LAW

      • itsvictor

        Aside from basically admitted how racist a lot of cabbies are, this caught my attention:

        “We are far more likely to pass up people on certain blocks at certain times because our personal data points show that someone that looks like X standing at Y at Z time is going to destination CD or E and we want or need to be headed in the A or B direction.”

        This sums up exactly what prompted me to swear off cab drivers. I don’t care which way you WANT to go – how about providing a decent service for your customer, the guy who’s paying? How about actually taking him/her to his destination instead of some excuse because you just don’t want to go there? I often need to get to the Outer Richmond and cabbies NEVER go there, even though they are legally obligated to. Lyft will take me there EVERY TIME, no sass, no excuses, just a nice ride for a paying customer.

        • Mrjhnsn

          So you seem to not realize that you are not my customer until you are in the cab. Up until that point you are just someone looking for a ride on the street. The reason why a driver might want to go a certain way may have to with things like having to give his kids a ride to school or pick up his wife from work. The motivations for why a cabbie may profile you and where you are going largely has nothing to do with anything about you. The cabbie is an independent contractor and has the discretion to use his time in the cab how he wants. The only time he is required to take you is when he pulls over to let you in. If a cabbie pulls over and asks where you are going and then drives off because he doesn’t like the answer is illegal and what we call “Refusal to Convey”. This is a finable offense ($80) and should be reported to 311 when it happens. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior and we need to get cabbies that do this to behave properly.

  • A

    When this debate was first getting heated, I actually sided with the cabbies. I rarely need a cab but would just call Luxor or Yellow Cab to go to the airport, or hail one if I was too tipsy to bike home safely. After an onslaught of terrible experiences in cabs recently (sexual harassment, being accused of robbery -?!? – and all around unsafe driving, especially from a cyclist’s perspective) I’m all for ride sharing. It not only meets a demand that was desperately needed in SF, but creates a use for a lot of cars that would otherwise just take up parking spaces while setting a solid platform for competition. Hopefully the Taxi drivers and companies can take a valuable lesson from all of this rather than continuing to show that they’re hyper aggressive and not ready for this generation of tech-savvy out on the town San Franciscans.

  • armynod

    Why should taxi companies be immune to competition? Free market economy is fundamental in America.

  • Lyft Driver Extraordinaire

    I am a Lyft driver and let me say that as a native new yorker, traditional cab rides are definitely… Different from what we do. As a driver for Lyft, I make sure that my car is impeccable, and I drive safe and make sure I am well rested prior to every shift. Passengers are trusting us with their lives and I take that very seriously. We don’t have an umbrella to hide under, we are PERSONALLY liable and responsible for the experience we provide. We’re not in it for the money, we’re in it to serve the public. Lyfts system is genius and it’s so nice to have a pleasant person take you where you want to go rather than someone speeding through traffic eager for the next fare. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself. Download the Lyft app and enter code 37PZ7Z for $10 towards your first ride. Share the code with friends and family and make sure you submit feedback after your ride. Lyft CARES about your experience and we want nothing more than to make you happy!!

  • D Tabb

    I personally think the Cabs have hurt themselves! they take people for granted and can be abusive in their behavior,you can not treat people that way and expect to keep them once they have options! GO LYFT!

  • Dave Sutton

    TNCs are not safe. They lack bullet-proof insurance coverage. And without effective insurance coverage, they simply aren’t safe.

  • Mike Marino

    GoGoCabi is the solution!

    It was designed to allow passengers and licensed taxicab drivers to connect more efficiently. With the technologies available today, hailing a taxicab should be easy, appealing, and safe.

    GoGoCabi is free and only accepts licensed taxicab drivers to provide service to passengers. GoGoCabi was developed to compliment the current taxicab system. Taxicab fairs are not handled or processed, dispatching services are not disrupted, and drivers now have an opportunity to use their mobile device as another option to increase revenue and fight the “ride sharing” apps.

  • NunyaGDbidness

    Wah wah wah taxis. Guess what – your “hard earned medallion” just means you can be a jerk with a medallion that still drives horribly and dangerously, whereas the “TNC” drivers have a rating scale – if the driver is bad, or rude, they get a negative rating, which can then affect their ability to get rides. Cabs – they can be just plain awful (and most are), and get away with it.

    Cabs overcharge – the difference in what it costs to use a Sidecar or Lyft versus a cab is night and day. I can get from downtown SF to East Oakland via Sidecar for about $40…in a cab, that number goes to about $70 to $90 – along with far worse customer service.

    So many times I have gotten into a cab that has credit card stickers displayed on it to denote which CC’s they accept – only to have the driver (illegally) refuse to accept a card. Furthermore, I can pay via a smartphone app for a Lyft or Sidecar or Uber – not get stuck either using cash, or a non-working credit card machine in a busted up cab.

    TNC cars are required to be clean, efficient, inspected, and safe – and the drivers go through background checks. Most of the TNC drivers can actually speak English…another selling point, whereas the cabs are still the domain of the “FOB” citizen.

    TNC services have drivers using GPS for directions – cabs oftentimes go super far out of the way “accidentally” to run up fares. TNC’s also don’t gather at the Airport en masse when there’s a whole city full of people trying to get a ride somewhere. TNC’s actually come when they say they will, rather than booking a cab and having it ditch your ride for a street fare they decide to pick up along the way, thus leaving you stranded.

    There are HEAPS of reasons to use a TNC versus a cab in the Bay Area, and the cab companies only have themselves to blame. They provide a service that is far less value overall, far more dangerous overall, and typically come with a ton of attitude. I have NEVER had a single TNC ride that I regretted, whereas I have primarily had cab rides that were subpar (at best).

    Hey SF cab services…here’s a giant middle finger salute for you.

  • William@SC

    BTW I love driving for all the TNC companies. 4.9 star on Uberx. 70% awesome rating on Sidecar. If you are looking for a Sidecar Code try Wheneverwilliam free $10 off your first ride! For uber rides use 82sjm.

    And we thank you for your support on TNC regardless of which platform you choose!

  • Adam Patrick Crawley

    whats the current monthly ride run-rate????

  • leftoversright

    Ed Healy could always get commercial collision on his car, I did.

  • Mrjhnsn

    When a dispatcher tells you a cab is on the way, they are not lying. What they see is a cab on your order. When that cab kicks the order back and takes a street flag we don’t see that until its too late and the customer is calling back. Dispatching cabs is like herding cats and everyone knows how easy that is. Sometimes the cab actually picks up the wrong person and we also don’t realize that has happened until either the cabbie calls to let us know that they did that or the customer calls and tells us the cab never showed. The traveling public has no clue that we are fielding sometimes hundreds of calls an hour and do not have the ability to double check with every driver and passenger on every requested pickup. You act like we are all seeing and knowing when we only see a bunch of dots and orders on a screen. When you lose your phone I have no idea that you were picked up flagging a cab at Spear and Folsom and went to Blah and Blah… I have 220 cabs crisscrossing the city in various states of availability at any given moment. I can only tell you what my system is telling you. SO when you accuse me of lying to you I get really offended because I know that I am telling you the truth as I know it to be at that moment in time. SO STOP CALLING US LIARS.

    For the millionth time using Flywheel eliminates 99% of the issues all you TNC lovers whine incessantly about. If a driver takes your Flywheel order… they show up and quickly. Period. No denial of service, no credit card BS and no hassle.

    At no point did I insinuate that taxis are just for “Bro-Bags”(???) going to the club. What i was saying is that the people that are the most abusive and self entitled to dispatchers are usually the ones that feel like they are the only one that matters even though they are just headed to the bar or club to get wasted.

    Racist behavior is never acceptable. Its a sad fact of life in modern America that some people are racist and classist for whatever reason. Just because someone has a black friend or works with an Indian guy or boned an Asian girl does not mean that they are not racist in certain contexts. I pride myself on being “color-blind” but there are still moments that I feel ashamed that I might have made a wrong assessment of someone because of their skin color. This is usually not the case as I personally profile people by stuff like how they present themselves. For instance if you don’t know that your pants belong around your waist and you have a hoodie up over your head while flagging a cab at 6th and Market or in the TL you can bet your ass I am not stopping. My personal safety is more important than having a heart and if that means that someone who is not presenting themselves in a respectful and orderly fashion does not get a ride in my cab so be it.

    And finally if a cabbie passes you up its not always or even often the color of your skin… its usually some other factor you are not aware of (sometimes they see a hot chick down the road they would rather have in the cab or a dude with suitcases that might be going to the airport).

    Also when you kick a cab, spit at a cab, throw your water bottle at a cab that is legally assault so a cabbie is well within his right to swear at you and call the police. In fact if you were crossing the street when you actually have the right of way you wouldn’t be in that situation to begin with. You see the ONLY TIME YOU CAN CROSS THE STREET IS WHEN THE GREEN WALKING MAN IS SHOWING. If you start crossing when the flashing red hand and countdown is showing you are violating the law and jaywalking, and if you get hit by said cab the camera inside will show that you were in the wrong and you will get a ticket in your hospital bed. A driver must always do their best to allow pedestrians the right of way where possible but if you are crossing against the light you can step back on the curb. In fact I would be willing to bet that I was the cabbie that cussed at you and would do it again. LEARN YOUR PLACE.

    Go ahead and take Uber… I don’t want you puking in my cab or treating me like your damn b— anyway.

  • Hondo78

    We need to save blockbuster video, wooden wheel makers and affliction t shirt designers. This is an outrage. The irony is that this LA is one of the most liberal cities in the union and I am sure most of the hipster drivers are big obamites which which in theory would make them pro regulation. You can do the math. Vote libertarian we love gays and hate regulation. I have already applied to be a driver in Nashville. Thank you capitalism. It will only last for a few years until government figures out a way to f it up. Live free or die. I really mean that too