Wednesday, January 14, 2015

SF Taxi drivers demand city crack down on Uber, Lyft, Sidecar

Uber may have become one of the world’s most hated companies in the wake of their hard-ball tactics to ignore and evade local regulation, their threats to attack journalists who criticize the firm in the media, and their unique surge-pricing policy which raises prices…sometimes astronomically… when demand is highest.
Recently Uber has been kicked out of Nevada, and Portland Oregon, at least temporarily, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been indicted in South Korea for violating local laws that prohibit rental car companies from operating taxi services. The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of roughly $18,000. This week the New York City taxi and license commission suspended 5 of 6 Uber subsidiaries because they refused to hand over ride and fare data as required by law.
In California, District Attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco are suing Uber for fraudulent business practices including charging a $1 "Safe Rides Fee" for a second rate system of driver background checks and then lying to customers about it. On Tuesday, San Francisco taxi drivers held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce an all-out fight to get city regulators to crack down on Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other TNCs. They were joined by Chris Paulson, head of the San Francisco Labor council. Tom Herriman reports. (Photo: Barry Korengold SFTWA and Chris Paulson, SF Labor Council.)