LETTER TO NEWS MEDIA REGARDING IMPROPER USE OF THE TERM “RIDESHARE”
To Whom it Should Concern,
We would like to shed light on the fallacy and misrepresentation of facts by much of the media’s coverage of the recent taxi protest at San Francisco City Hall and the CPUC Building, as well as many previous stories concerning these new unlicensed taxi transportation services. You continue to repeat their false claim that they are “rideshares”. As we pointed out clearly in our press conference, California Public Utilities Code §5353(h) states that among other things, “ridesharing” in this context cannot be for profit. Furthermore, the July 30th proposed decision by the California Public Utilities Commission on OIR proceeding R.12-12-011 also stated that they are NOT ridesharing services. These companies and their drivers have gained a false legitimacy by making this oft repeated claim.
We urge you to stop using this term when referring to these companies or their drivers, as it is irresponsible journalism and a disservice to the public when you repeat these inaccurate contentions. We believe that a more appropriate term would be what the CPUC used in last Wednesday’s proposal; Transportation Network Companies, or “TNC’s”. We feel a more accurate term would be Illegal Transportation Network Companies, but “TNC’s” will suffice for now.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
San Francisco Cab Drivers Association
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.sfcda.org
INITIAL RESPONSE TO CPUC TENTATIVE RULING
The CPUC has made some steps in the right direction with their recommended regulatory changes to accommodate what they are calling Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). Existing taxi-like behavior of the TNCs was not addressed fully nor did they address the unchecked number of people that will abuse the system and continue to illegally compete with taxis. With the potential for abuse high, there are a number of items that will need to be addressed including limits on hours driving and the ability of the CPUC to enforce their regulations in light of the well documented lack of enforcement.
Our assertions that the TNCs are “for profit” transportation providers and not “ridesharing” as they have been claiming to be, was affirmed by the CPUC in their proposal.
With this established and the claims of victory made by the TNCs it is also quite clear that they were counting on lax enforcement that only the CPUC could provide and that being “green” or doing the socially responsible thing was never in their plans.
Our official detailed opinion will be available for review once we have had time to fully digest what has been proposed and confer with our legal experts on these matters.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (7/29/13)
Who: The San Francisco Cab Drivers Association & The United Taxicab Workers
What: Demonstration protesting Mayor Lee and the CPUC’s failure to enforce the law against illegal taxi services operating under the guise of “Ridesharing”.
When: July 30, 2013
Rally from 12pm – 1pm
Press Conference – 12:30pm
Where: Steps of San Francisco City Hall
Why: We are protesting the blatant disregard of taxi and other passenger transportation laws by companies that are using creative language to sidestep regulations. This is devastating the legal taxi industry and putting the public at risk. These so called “Rideshare” services such as Lyft, UberX and Sidecar, are nothing more than unlicensed “bandit cabs” with smartphone applications, a Facebook account, and sometimes a pink mustache. California Public Utilities Code §5353(h) specifies among other things, that “ridesharing” cannot be for profit, yet all of these companies recruit drivers with the promise of making $35 to $50 an hour.
These illegal taxi services falsely claim that as “ridesharing” they and their drivers are exempt from regulatory accountability, including vehicle inspections, driver qualifications and insurance requirements. By giving them his blessing, Mayor Ed Lee is ignoring a clear public safety hazard.
SUPPORT LEGAL TAXIS!
WE are the REAL Community Drivers!
We are here to inform the public of a growing danger and demand that the City Attorney and Mayor Lee enforce the law.
Unlicensed, uninspected, unregulated and underinsured taxis are being allowed to roam the streets, creating a public safety hazard, increased congestion, greenhouse gasses and unfair competition against law abiding cab drivers. Under the fraudulent claim of “Ridesharing” these rogue taxis are avoiding all regulations, inspections, fees and insurance requirements enforced upon legal taxicabs placing the safety of the public at risk. A four door car and a smartphone app are not a permit to provide for hire transportation in San Francisco. (SFTC §1105a(1))
According to Cal. Public Utilities Code §5353(h) “Ridesharing” must NOT BE FOR PROFIT and must be incidental to where the driver is already going.
In a submission to the CPUC the Personal Insurance Federation of California stated that these services are “…not ridesharing, but using a private vehicle in a livery service, which is clearly not covered in a standard policy; if an accident occurs, coverage would not exist.”
In its submission to the CPUC the California Highway Patrol stated that, “…passenger transportation left unregulated unnecessarily increases the potential for operation of unsafe vehicles, unqualified drivers, and uninsured transportation providers.”
So far, inaction by the CPUC and Mayor Lee has resulted in a meltdown of regulatory standards and controls that are essential to the safety and protection of the public. This must not be allowed to continue in the name of the so-called “sharing economy”. Selling rides, even for suggested “donations”, is not “sharing” rides.
KEEP TAXIS REGULATED AND SAFE!
This campaign and rally was organized by San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and
the United Taxicab Workers of San Francisco.
It would not have been possible without the hard work, funding and support from thousands of legal taxi drivers, local cab companies,
and the Medallion Holders Association.