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SF Airport Officials Make Citizen Arrests of Internet Rideshare Drivers

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sharing-is-caring-except-when-it's-apparently-illegal dept.

Transportation 510

transporter_ii writes "In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said. Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to 'various offenders' since July 10. The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April. Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to 'keep taxis regulated and safe' and are calling for the end of ridesharing services."

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510 comments

Well (5, Funny)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#44432051)

Regulations = safety... right?

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44432213)

Regulations = safety... right?

You declared it.

You should have said
Regulations == Safety.

And here is where you need to understand the intent rather then the method. Regulations can be and are often used as important tools for safety, regulations prohibit engine destroying additives being added to fuel, encourage electrical systems to have devices that prevent electrocution, lower prices by fostering a single standard that is available for everyone.

OTOH, regulations can be used for evil, to lock out competition and fix prices for example.

So you cant say all regulations are evil without being extremely ignorant. It's the intent, not the method that determines if something is helpful or harmful.

And yes, I've lived in a country with very few regulations... This makes building anything to be a full time job just making sure they put the plumbing and electrics in right, so the house doesn't burn down.. We're not even considering the time checking and chasing up on shonky plastering jobs.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432393)

Regulations == Safety.

I'm not sure in the Airport and Taxi's are unions, but that would explain all of this. This is how unions operate, in groups, again if one or both are unions.

In this case it isn't about Safety, it is about losing money.

Dispute - not often at all (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44432397)

Regulations can be and are often used as important tools for safety

At one point "often" might have applied.

Now it applies perhaps in 1% of the cases where regulation is preventing something.

And yes, I've lived in a country with very few regulations.

Key word: Lived.

I note you bring up pretty much the only valid regulations that exist, among the first before the system went wild.

Re:Dispute - not often at all (5, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about a year ago | (#44432495)

At one point "often" might have applied. Now it applies perhaps in 1% of the cases where regulation is preventing something.

Your post reads like you have absolutely no perspective, have chosen a side, and are completely focused on supporting that position. The idea that 99% of regulation isn't beneficial is absolute nonsense.
When I came into work today in my car I benefited from regulation of air-bags, lighting, road markings, junction positioning, emissions, brakes, vehicle road worthiness and probably dozens, if not hundreds, of others.
There are stupid regulations, just like there are stupid laws, but the exceptions should be dealt with rather than throwing the whole system out.

In this case, its pure extortion (5, Informative)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44432399)

It's all about the money. The SF airport officials want their cut of the fares and are bullying the rideshare cabs to get it. This is what they said in April [sfexaminer.com] :-

The airport has demanded that six different ridesharing companies quit their SFO operations until further notice.

“It’s not fair for the cab companies that go through the permitting process to compete with these unregistered vehicles,” said airport spokesman Doug Yakel. “Not only are we talking about the limited space at the airport, but also the safety of our passengers.”

A trip to the airport can result in a $50 fare for cabs, but drivers must pay nominal fees each time they enter and exit the hub as part of the permitting process overseen by the CPUC. SFO wants all ridesharing companies to be certified by the CPUC before operating at the airport.

So, when banning the ridesharing cabs (who don't pay their 'nominal fees') didn't work, they started arresting the cab drivers [arstechnica.com] .

After the cease and desist order was issued, airport officials and police began “admonishing” rideshare drivers who dropped off or picked up passengers at the airport.

Starting July 10, airport officials began slapping rideshare operators with citizen arrests for trespassing when they were discovered at the airport. “This is not the type of arrest where somebody gets put in jail,” Doug Yakel told Ars. “It's a misdemeanor and it's for trespassing.” Yakel went on to say that the curbside airport police observe and “have the right to question drivers,” if they see anything that appears to indicate ridesharing. Tells include anything from the giant pink mustache that Lyft drivers slap on their car grill to seeing the rider and driver exchange money before the rider leaves. “There could be a variety of different things that [airport police] would be looking for to see if there's a rideshare transaction,” Yakel explained.

At that point, airport police contact an airport official, who writes the rideshare driver a citation for a court date. Yakel said that officials are writing citations under California Penal Code section 602.4, which states that people offering “goods, merchandise, property, or services of any kind whatsoever” on airport property, without the airport's permission, are guilty of a misdemeanor. Yakel told Ars that he didn't know how high the fine for such a misdemeanor might be.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#44432221)

Regulations = safety... right?

In most of Europe yes; the regulations are there in order to improve people's lives and especially safety. It is true that, in some places, people are able to change the regulations for their own profit or in ways that interfere with business. That is a symptom of failing democracy not that regulations are always bad. Your first priority must be to change your politicians. After that; once you have politicians who are trying to limit the regulations to the ones that actually matter, then is the time to start reducing the regulation which is getting in your way for no benefit.

Very often, the alternative to regulations which make it clear what needs to be done and what is just an optional extra is lawsuits, which are even more costly.

Re:Well (1)

jools33 (252092) | about a year ago | (#44432355)

Stockholms Arlanda airport likes to charge an additional fee / tarrif for travellers to enter the airport from the rail station (in addition to the price of the ticket), there is no other exit from the station (its underground). I've often wondered what they would do if I were to get of the train without paying this fee - and then set the fire alarms of at the station or something. Or if someone were to get off the train at the airport without enough money to enter the airport itself, would they find themselves trapped as a prisoner to the airport authorities?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432405)

hardly.

You could apply that question of yours to any public transport system.

I expect, you'd either be led out of the airport by the security people. You might then get fined/prosecuted. I've never been on any publish transport system where 'sorry, I don't have enough money to afford a ticket' as an excuse. Try filling up your car with petrol without having money to pay. I am sure there will be a bylaw that covers this.

However, you could always try it and report back ;)

Re:Well (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year ago | (#44432455)

easy - fine them and as they cannot pay send them to jail.

I suppose that this (I mean passengers w/o money not passengers sent to jail because if it) happen every day. they are fined, asked for account details or credit card or address to which fine is sent or if the going was good at particular day let go free.

Re:Well (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44432411)

Your first priority must be to change your politicians

Mwu .. mwu .. mwuahahahahaha!

Oops, pardon me. Big lunch.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432279)

Regulations = safety... right?

Often safety regulations involving services are more anti-competitve then anything else. Back when you could still buy a brand new vehicle for less than $5k and the medical profession hadn't gotten near as out of hand pricewise as today, some states added million$ minimum insurancing requirements to wreckers, amongst the laws' major backers? AAA, of course their franchieses got relatively good rates. Often the same laws added further restrictions to new operators.

Licensing is another area of limiting supply and competition. In some things a license holder can lease out their license for a nice profit without ever doing any work themselves. Or even reselling them, check out the NYC Taxi Medallion system.

Oh and wonder how much it cost who to get the airline officials to make their citizen's arrests?

Clean their own act first (5, Informative)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44432349)

Before regulating, how about the existing cab companies clean up their own act first.

From TFA:-

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

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

Apparently, regulated taxis in San Francisco are so safe that theres a dedicated webpage discussing homicide prevention strategies [taxi-library.org] . For cabs specifically in SF only.

And one of the main reasons ridesharing is taking off is that apparently existing regulated cabs offer terrible service [baycitizen.org] .

San Francisco taxi drivers routinely flout the law by refusing rides, declining to take credit cards, charging unauthorized fees, speeding, smoking, and talking and texting on cellphones while driving, according to a year’s worth of passenger complaints reviewed by The Bay Citizen.

Taxis infested with bed bugs, drivers falling asleep at the wheel, rude behavior and difficulty getting a cab also were among the complaints. One patron reported that a cab driver allegedly stole his credit card number and used it to make purchases in Brazil. And two friends were upset when a driver offered them a 10 percent discount if they made out in front of him.

Actually, hmm, my sympathies might lie with the cab driver on the making out bit. But only if shes hot. ^_-

Sharing is evil (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44432061)

The entertainment industry says so. It seems only reasonable to see others take up the cause. Parents who tell kids to share their toys should be arrested also. It's killing the Toys R us franchise.

Re:Sharing is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432101)

The entertainment industry says so. It seems only reasonable to see others take up the cause. Parents who tell kids to share their toys should be arrested also. It's killing the Toys R us franchise.

They'd like everyone to understand this, but they'd have to share it with you first, and that's a problem....

Re:Sharing is evil (3, Interesting)

pthisis (27352) | about a year ago | (#44432225)

These aren't shares in that sense. While the donations they suggest are technically not mandatory, if you don't pay them then you're cut out of the system quickly. They're for-profit companies running something closer to a limo service than what anyone would mean by "rideshare". Which is fine with me, the taxi monopolies are ludicrous. But it's not like they're arresting people for carpooling or slugging or something.

Re:Sharing is evil (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432311)

Outlaw corporations! They issue shares!

Re:Sharing is evil (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44432317)

Parents who tell kids to share their toys should be arrested also. It's killing the Toys R us franchise.

Of course! The only shares nobody is arrested when they got busted are the ones used by Wall Street.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432065)

Because money! Fuck you pay me!

(you don't eve need any more than the title for that story)

Civil Offense = Arrested? (4, Interesting)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44432069)

Arresting someone for what amounts to a civil offense seems like government power overreach to me, otherwise known as fascism.

Re:Civil Offense = Arrested? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432113)

You are the reason Slashdot sucks now, two-million-plus boy.

You have no clue what a civil offense is, or what fascism is, but does that stop you from opening your goddamned mouth and crapping up the thread? Of course not.

This place now has all the quality of the average newspaper forum, with half-baked thoughts and people posting about how they FEEL things are, rather than the way they actually are. With people like you just randomly throwing out words and concepts that they have no idea what actually is meant by the words... just spewing out stuff on concepts they have no idea about.

Please, Joey, and others like you... if you are clueless, just shut the fuck up, mmmkay?

Re:Civil Offense = Arrested? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432413)

Arrogant nitwits like you are the reason Slashdot has always sucked to some degree.

Re:Civil Offense = Arrested? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432165)

They were banned by the airport first, those that continued to show up were trespassing. Trespassing is criminal offense.

Re:Civil Offense = Arrested? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44432177)

Arresting someone for what amounts to a civil offense seems like government power overreach to me, otherwise known as fascism.

They are being arrested for being stupid, which is (or should be) a criminal offense. This is nothing new. The SFO Airport Gestapo has always watched for any money changing hands at the curb. You just need to pay the driver before you get to airport.

Re:Civil Offense = Arrested? (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44432417)

otherwise known as fascism

Only a communist would suggest such a thing...

indictable offense? (5, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | about a year ago | (#44432085)

Is picking someone up at the airport an indictable offense?
reason #8732 not to fly to the US...

Re:indictable offense? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432147)

No. In the USA, an "indictable offense" is by legal definition a felony. These citizens arrests are not for felonies.

Stop using words and phrases when you don't know what they mean, OK?

Re:indictable offense? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432223)

Americans are angry, childish pieces of shit.
Reason #8733 not to fly to the US.

Re:indictable offense? (5, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#44432337)

http://jpdefense.com/new-york-criminal-defense/2011/01/can-a-defendant-be-indicted-in-new-york-state-on-a-misdemeanor-charge/ [jpdefense.com]

An indictment is a written statement charging a party with the commission of a crime or other offense, drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and found and presented by a grand jury. Although the idea of a person being indicted on a misdemeanor charge may be uncommon, since the purpose of an indictment is generally used to charge a person with a felony; itâ(TM)s not always the case. ...(deleted text)

When a defendant is indicted in New York Criminal Court on a misdemeanor charge, he is subject to a petit jury hearing which has a total of six members. This hearing is used to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the defendant.

If the misdemeanor is prosecuted by the indictment, then the defendant is entitled to twelve jurors even though the highest charge is a misdemeanor. ...(deleted text)

Re:indictable offense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432409)

Well it's really confusing when the words felony and misdemeanour have absolutely no meaning in any other country.

Re:indictable offense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432453)

No. In the USA, an "indictable offense" is by legal definition a felony. These citizens arrests are not for felonies.

Stop using words and phrases when you don't know what they mean, OK?

See below regarding the definition of indictment.

You mad bro? You took time out of your day to correct somebody, but you were wrong. So very wrong...

Re:indictable offense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432303)

offering rides to people for a donation

"donation" = "fare" aka a car for hire.

most places in the us regulate this, which is essentially a taxi or limo service.

the airport is going a little overboard, unless the actual airport police are involved and not simply "airport officials"... but since these services are regulated in sf, they aren't in the wrong, either.

get rid of the "donation" whether mandatory or simply optional, and any fees associated with hitching a ride that a service may impose.. then the rideshare services can, imho, continue to exist without any valid complaints from taxi cabs or other cars for hire. it may not be entirely safe, getting a ride from (or picking up) a stranger, but there really isnt anything taxi companies, the city, the airport, or state, can do to stop two people from arranging (away from the airport and restricted movement areas) rides to/from the airport on their own.

Re:indictable offense? (4, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44432433)

Is picking someone up at the airport an indictable offense?

Depends upon the following:
- The speed at which you approach
- Where you park
- Whom the person is
- What your intent is
- What you're carrying in the boot of your car
- Whether your car is correctly registered and insured
- Whether the NSA has you, your grandmother, your housemate or your neighbour on a watch list
But apart from that, land of the free .. home of the brave.

Re:indictable offense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432443)

Californication, instalment #8,720,091. Save gas, save the whales, save the trees, cycle to work - oh wait: you SHARED a vehicle to the airport?! You horrid criminal you!
USA = confused. Avoid at all costs.

Once more government protecting big business (3, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | about a year ago | (#44432097)

Meanwhile the world evolves and the dinosaurs think that by roaring louder they will divert the extinction that is free economy.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44432149)

Since when were cab drivers big business? I was one and we had to pay to be able to pick up from the airport. On top of that there are vehicle licenses, inspections and higher insurance. Why should someone else be able to pick up strangers for the cost of gas. You can't tell me that the driver does not get a few bucks for the trouble.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (5, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44432231)

Why should someone else be able to pick up strangers for the cost of gas?

Why shouldn't someone else be able to pick up strangers for the cost of gas?

On top of that there are vehicle licenses, inspections and higher insurance.

This adds nothing of value . . . except to the government and insurance agencies. All cars need licenses, inspections and insurance anyway. If you are using your car for professional purposes, you need to report it to your insurance company anyway.

You can't tell me that the driver does not get a few bucks for the trouble.

No, I shouldn't tell you, but the drivers should report it to the IRS as income.

The whole thing is about protecting the taxi business from competition.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432281)

Why shouldn't someone else be able to pick up strangers for the cost of gas?

Because all of the above costs exist for a reason. They didn't just get made up because it was fun to regulate taxi drivers, they're there to protect people getting into the back of cars with strangers driving them. If they don't fight it, it allows unregulated taxis to pop up all over the place, simply by repeatedly "offering a lift" at the airport, sidestepping the entire taxi regulation system.

The whole thing is about protecting the taxi business from competition.

No, the whole thing is about protecting people from ending up in the back of "taxis" that couldn't or wouldn't get through the tighter set of rules for operating a taxi over simply owning a car.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432331)

None of the reasons are of any value to me. If I want the safety of a regulated taxi, I'll take one. If I am willing to accept the risk of taking an unregulated one, where is the reason to disallow me to do that?

Go to your boss and tell him you need to earn 100 bucks more for "union fees" and inform me of his reply, please. Especially if you keep screaming at him that non-union workers should be banned while he has you thrown out.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432403)

where is the reason to disallow me to do that?

Because fuck you, that's why.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432425)

None of the reasons are of any value to me. If I want the safety of a regulated taxi, I'll take one. If I am willing to accept the risk of taking an unregulated one, where is the reason to disallow me to do that?

You need to own a pair of jackboots and be able to step like a goose to understand the rationale here.

Yeah, I just Godwinned this shit. Because there's absofuckinglutely no reason, other than dystopian control over the most microscopic facets of our lives, with ill purpose.

Re: Once more government protecting big business (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432367)

Taxi drivers are strangers as well. No difference. I don't feel any safer with a taxi driver than with some random stranger. In fact I was raped once by taxi drivers. (I'm a woman). In these days and ages, Taxis aren't needed as a monopoly any longer. Taxis are still useful, but protecting their monopoly is ridiculous.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (5, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year ago | (#44432377)

They didn't just get made up because it was fun to regulate taxi drivers, they're there to protect people getting into the back of cars with strangers driving them.

Oh, please. They are there because the taxi drivers lobbied for it, going as far as rioting in the streets, beating the other drivers senseless and cutting off traffic in the financial districts, because during the great depression everyone who had a car was competing with them.

Here's an article from 1934: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17056337/ [nla.gov.au]

The reason is as stated - protection racket (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44432387)

They didn't just get made up because it was fun to regulate taxi drivers

No, they got made up because someone could then make money from ALL drivers picking up someone, and furthermore artificially jacking up prices by lowering supply.

No, the whole thing is about protecting people from ending up in the back of "taxis" that couldn't or wouldn't get through

Ha! Spoken like someone who has never been in a real taxi. In London perhaps with the black cabs we could buy your bullshit. In most other cities or most other companies you just need to fork over the VERY LARGE amount of cash required to join the club - your only instructors required being Washington and Benjamin.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44432423)

Since when were cab drivers big business? I was one and we had to pay to be able to pick up from the airport. On top of that there are vehicle licenses, inspections and higher insurance.

If the ride share services have lower costs, for whatever reason, you can simply join them and stop being a cab driver.

Re:Once more government protecting big business (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432319)

What is that "free economy" you talk about and where does it exist? It's kinda intriguing, I think we should try it some day.

What. (5, Funny)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | about a year ago | (#44432103)

I just read the summary several times, and the article twice, and I still have no idea what the hell people are getting arrested for...

But I get the feeling that if someone explains it to me, it'll only lead to me yelling "WHAT THE FUCK, AMERICA?!" and I already have a headache, so I would rather just remain ignorant this one time...

Re:What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432155)

try just one more time!

Hint: its the 5th sentence.

Re:What. (1)

quantaman (517394) | about a year ago | (#44432295)

try just one more time!

Hint: its the 5th sentence.

Here's the 5th sentence from the article.

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

Except it doesn't really describe what the services are. Is ridesharing something like couchsurfing, and the drivers volunteers and and the companies just coordinating?

Later on it has:

He said the drivers are simply offering rides to people for a donation,

Which makes me think the drivers are looking to make some money (ie "suggested donation") and the companies are charging a connection fee. Either way the article doesn't explain the business model or the motivations of the drivers well enough for me to form an opinion.

Re:What. (3, Informative)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44432181)

This is actually not an American only thing.

Generally, you must have a license to be a taxi driver, ride sharing like that is akin (and probably in the eyes of the government equal to) operating a taxi service, thus, if you are not licensed to do so, you are breaking the law.

Re:What. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432205)

So from now on, there will only be one person in each car in the US?

Re:What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432439)

Are you really that fucking stupid?

Re:What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432249)

I used to live in a very bad part of town, and Taxis refused to pick you up or bring you home there.
So there were lot of non-legal Taxis, The legal Taxis chauffeurs were very angry and they beat up a few of those non-legal Taxis chauffeurs with baseball bats.

Yes those legal Taxis are really save to sit in next to a driver who most likely is a violent criminal.

Re:What. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432347)

But a licensed violent criminal!

Re:What. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432471)

I'll go ahead and tell my brother and my friends that the next time I have to pick one of them up from the airport. After all, they usually pay for gas or dinner.

Re:What. (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44432505)

Well don't know the tax code in the US, but if you are receiving it as payment for the ride, it usually has to be declared to the tax man.

Re:What. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44432183)

Your headache can go away. It's just all about taxi drivers not liking pink mustaches: http://www.businessinsider.com/lyft-ride-sharing-john-zimmer-2012-9 [businessinsider.com]

Meet Lyft, A Startup Trying To Change San Francisco's Decades-Old Transportation System

n San Francisco, a hotbed of transportation innovation from ferries to cable cars to high-speed rail, the latest way to get around is sporting a giant, pink, fluffy mustache. If you see a car with that hood decoration, you're looking at a driver for Lyft, a new app from a startup called Zimride that lets you order a car ride from one point to another on demand. Instead of working like Uber, a similar service for professional limo drivers, Lyft has more of a community aspect, focusing on regular car owners who want to help their friends and meet new people.

Re:What. (5, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | about a year ago | (#44432207)

Part of the confusion is that these aren't really ride"shares", they're closer to being unlicensed cab companies. Or maybe limo companies--they don't pick up random street fares, you have to put in a request through their apps. Passengers put in online requests and pay the drivers to come and pick them up and drive them somewhere, and while there's not a mandatory fee there is a "suggested fee" given in the app at the end of the ride and the rating system ensures that passengers who don't pay get cut out of the system quickly. The company takes a percentage of each fare (20% is typical).

All of which I'm okay with (taxi monopolies are ridiculous, and the lyft/sidecar/etc market has settled on rates that are about 30% lower than what hack rates are set at), but they're for-profit companies where drivers typically make $30+ an hour. It's not like they're shutting down a "rideshare" in the sense that it sounds like.

All three of these companies have previously been fined by the California Public Utilities Commission and issued cease and desists. But the timing is surprising. CPUC had recently reversed the fines and C&Ds against all three after ensuring that they'd follow some safety regulations going forward--they're in the process of getting their drivers licensed, have agreed to have criminal background checks for all drivers (some of them did that already), and have picked up bond insurance for passengers, etc.

It looked before today like they were in the process of coming into compliance and that CPUC was backing down from a previously confrontational position in light of those concessions. See, for instance, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57596259-93/uber-lyft-and-sidecar-get-tentative-green-light-in-calif/ [cnet.com] They've gone through the same thing in other cities (I know they have at least tentative approval in New York after going through a lot of back and forth to make sure that they're not just bandit cabs that operate by no rules).

Re:What. (0)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44432473)

so I would rather just remain ignorant this one time...

Welcome to the team. We're building a clubhouse in San Diego, next door to the BEST fatty burger joint in town.

We'll soon be organising a crowd buy of massive Chinese manufactured flat screen TV sets with satellite uplinks .. good for over 150 channels with no on-going fees! Up to 50% of the channels are eastern European with scantily clad big breasted ladies and voice overs nobody can understand.

We're currently negotiating with GM to get a bulk discount on the new 3.5 tonne Chrysler truck. It can apparently carry 2 tonnes in the tray, so if we ever have a group outing we only need to take a third of our vehicles! But with on-line so easy these days, we're also negotiating for some wide angle 1080p web cams and laptops with extra fat rigid keys.

Watch this space!

Citizens arrest?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432105)

I don't know about the US, but in Canada to do a citizens arrest you have to have witnessed the suspect commiting an indictable offense. Surely violating car for hire bylaws is not a felony?!?

Re:Citizens arrest?? (0)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#44432151)

It's pretty obvious that anyone seeking to avoid monitoring has something to hide. For what other reason would you hide something if not to commit a crime?

Re:Citizens arrest?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432483)

Because I don't want to tell my friends all about how I couldn't keep it up last night when they ask my how my date went.

Felony in the US is simple (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44432153)

Surely violating car for hire bylaws is not a felony?!?

If you are annoying any member of a union in the U.S. you are committing a felony, furthermore they are allowed to rough you up as required by the level of your offense.

Re:Citizens arrest?? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432195)

No, but tresspass is. The airport has banned those hiring the non-taxi rides. It's a jerk move, but it's legal.

Re:Citizens arrest?? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44432389)

No, but tresspass is. The airport has banned those hiring the non-taxi rides. It's a jerk move, but it's legal.

what. so eating your own sandwich in a mcdonalds is a felony? what the fuck 'murica, what the fuck.

How are they identified? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year ago | (#44432111)

Are the cars marked or painted with the company names and/or logos? If they are just plain cars, how are the airport police identifying these cars as belonging to a Rideshare service, as opposed to private individuals picking up or dropping off a friend?

Re:How are they identified? (5, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#44432119)

Are the cars marked or painted with the company names and/or logos?

For one of the companies at least, the cars are wearing pink mustaches. (yes, really)

Re:How are they identified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432437)

Only in S.F....

Re:How are they identified? (5, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44432479)

the cars are wearing pink mustaches

They're in disguise.

Re:How are they identified? (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | about a year ago | (#44432185)

I'm sure they have cameras recording plates of people who enter and exit the airport, and they'll flag people for suspicious activity (going to the airport more than 2 or 3 times a day, for example) and ask them what they're doing. If they admit ridesharing it's off to the pen

Re:How are they identified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432197)

I guess everyone needs to strap a pink stash to the front of their cars then.

Re:How are they identified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432235)

I like how Uber claims they take donations.

It's more expensive then a taxi and the claim is it is a donation ride share service?

I suppose my friend chose to pay 75$ dollars for a ride home last friday night.

Personally, I've used town car services for a while, but they were generally cheaper then taxi services. I suspect because they don't have to deal with the regulation and fees of taxi services.

At least those bums don't pretend it's a donation or ride share service.

Won't be happening for much longer (4, Informative)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#44432117)

The California Public Utilities Commission is setting guidelines making ride-sharing legal. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57596259-93/uber-lyft-and-sidecar-get-tentative-green-light-in-calif/ [cnet.com]

Closing car pool lanes too? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44432451)

How are they going to handle car pooling or more than a single occupant in a car? Are they going to close car pool lanes? Are they going to prohibit cars to have more than one seat? What will happen to the environmental targets they have set if they won't allow people to share a car?

taxi drivers on strike (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432121)

I hope they have fun finding and torching driverless cars when they become available, because the demise of their profession is just over the horizon.

Yes, citizens arrest...for trespassing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432143)

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

Its right there in the article, common sense would have lead you to this eventually, right?

Is it right? No, They've probably not been told explicitly "do not enter our property", but something more hazy such as "If we catch you offering rides on airport property again we will have you arrested for trespassing". Which does have case law behind it as a legally enforceable trespassing violation.

So just...please...read fellas. Its not that hard. Heck, some even say, its fundamental.

Re:Yes, citizens arrest...for trespassing (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#44432171)

Most of the arguments I've seen so far haven't been "Is what they are doing legal?", instead the arguments have been "Is what they are doing right?"

Re:Yes, citizens arrest...for trespassing (1)

philovivero (321158) | about a year ago | (#44432219)

Clearly what they are doing (the airport officials) isn't right. But so far as I can tell, airport officials have made a career of doing wrong things and saying it's in our favour. From little things like taking away our water, to major things like irradiating us. It's a little disconcerting.

Er what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432145)

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

Translation: "We feel this is a threat to our business."

They could at least say that, instead of using slimy appeals to law. Seems to be the trend these days though; someone offering a better service than ours? Twist the law to turn them into villians.

Re:Er what (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about a year ago | (#44432191)

I actually feel sorry for the taxi drivers. It's not just a threat to their business - they are being undercut in ways they are not legally able to compete.

Taxi licenses cost big money, and that has to be recouped. The cars have to be maintained and inspected, and that also costs. When someone uses their personal verhicle with no other on-costs, I can see how taxi would get upset.

Try showing some compasion for a while. This is not as simple as the little guy versus big business.

Re:Er what (1)

dozr (70892) | about a year ago | (#44432215)

SCREW THEM.... Taxi Driver's are big bags of douche.

Re:Er what (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44432217)

I actually feel sorry for the taxi drivers. It's not just a threat to their business - they are being undercut in ways they are not legally able to compete.

I do not feel sorry for buggy whip makers. I will not feel sorry for taxi drivers. I will not feel sorry for ride-share services when self driving cars do them in.

I do not stand idly by while human progress is hindered. When the herd is hindered I first drop subtle hints that those who are hindering the herd should not do so. Next I advocate for field trips to the tar pit. Finally, we proceed unhindered, and not even the hipsters miss the buggy whip makers -- they burn them in their power plants or vehicles, and get custom specialty whips to use on their expensive weekend novelty carriage rides.

Re:Er what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432253)

It is not ultimately any current taxi drivers fault their industry is regulated and the regulation is there mostly to protect consumers.

Re:Er what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432351)

These so-called ride-share services aren't some new progression from taxi services. They are basically unlicensed taxi services. They don't have the safety inspections required for taxis, and they don't have the insurance required for taxis.

This isn't about human progress, it's about a bunch of unlicensed companies undercutting taxi drivers by not following mandatory safety and insurance regulations.

Re:Er what...Pre-conviction (-1)

meburke (736645) | about a year ago | (#44432273)

There is a strong argument that licensing is a form of pre-conviction and should be declared unconstitutional. Licenses should be reserved for those who have been shown to be a threat to safety. Enforcement would be easier, monitoring would be easier (since the number of unsafe providers would surely be smaller than total number of providers.

In actuality, licensing is a form of revenue for the State, and is unlikely to be discontinued. Welcome to creeping government interference in your life.

The Economic argument against licensing is that it restricts the number of providers and therefore drives the price up for consumers. It is a form of unionization, designed to keep the number of providers limited and the prices and rewards higher for the providers who are willing to go through the expense and inconvenience of complying. Yup, hairdressers, massage, barbers, taxi drivers, restaurants, doctors, nurses, etc.,etc... All rip-offs.

Then there is the price control argument: Economists know that for 4500 years EVERY attempt at price control has resulted in higher costs and shortages of the good or service being controlled. San Francisco? Famous for hard-to-find price-controlled, expensive apartments. (Obamacare is just another instance of price control. It is not even close to fully implemented, yet we are already seeing shortages and higher costs.)

Re:Er what...Pre-conviction (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#44432371)

It's not just a form of unionization. It means the state has verified that this practitioner has completed certain education, in some professions has posted a bond, and in many professions must continue to complete ongoing annual education from... licensed teachers in the field.

In the case of cab drivers it probably means they must maintain a certain driving record, their cab must be maintained in a certain way and that the cab (and it's metering equipment) must be inspected on a regular basis.

The ride "share" is probably all well and good until someone dies/is seriously injured and the driver doesn't have insurance/the car had a maintenance problem, the driver was intoxicated in some way, etc. Then it gets sticky.

OTH, a lot of laws are passed because something bad happened. A person finds a new unique way to electrocute themselves which is 1 in a million odds and next year every electrician has to learn about the new element of the electrical code that makes that impossible.

However, regulatory capture does lead to higher prices (and profits) over time as well as kicking out rungs of the ladder and making it harder for those who follow to get into the field.

Re:Er what...Pre-conviction (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44432481)

It's not just a form of unionization. It means the state has verified that this practitioner has completed certain education, in some professions has posted a bond, and in many professions must continue to complete ongoing annual education from... licensed teachers in the field.

You seem to not have much of a clue about taxi licenses.

You can complete that education, have the funds available to post that bond, and be willing to continue to complete annual education from "licensed teachers in the field" but you still arent going to get a fucking taxi license unless you buy a license from an existing license owner.

In the taxi world, licenses are PROPERTY. Welcome to reality.

Re:Er what (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432353)

Then why don't taxi drivers instead do the same, forgo licensing and other fees and offer their services at the same level? Obviously, it's what the market demands.

Re:Er what (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44432487)

Taxi owners do not want a free market.

Taxi drivers probably do, but not the owners.

Re:Er what (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44432459)

Taxi licenses cost big money

The price for taxi medallions is based on supply and demand. The supply is artificially low precisely because thats what the medallion owners continually petition the regulators for.

So no, do not feel sorry for the fucking taxi owners. Feel sorry for every consumer thats been fucked by them so far, and every consumer that will be fucked by them in the future.

Re:Er what (2)

JakartaDean (834076) | about a year ago | (#44432465)

IMO you've got it backwards. The licenses ("shields" or "medallions") cost so much because they're a licence to print money once acquired. In NYC "corporate" medallions have sold for over $1 million. [reuters.com] They sell for that much because the owner can get a better return on his investment than he can investing it in other ways, adjusted for risk. Medallion owners tend to play municipal politics well, to protect their investment. They also fool the public into feeling sorry for them. Please don't fall for it.

Re:Er what (2)

penix1 (722987) | about a year ago | (#44432237)

It's partly about their business and partly about public safety. Taxi services have higher insurance rates as well as safety inspections of both the cars and the drivers.

Look, this ride share serves is every bit as dangerous as hitchhiking. You are taking your chances with it that you won't be robbed of everything you have with you and your naked corpse found in the remotest part of California.

Its about money - Just money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432419)

The rich people who own taxi plates are doing very nicely, as are the other beneficiaries of this closed system.
In Australia half your cab fare goes not to the driver, but the taxi plate 'owner'.

Also in Australia, licenced Taxi drivers who accept 'web-enabled' rides directly are are threatened with lots of things - but the reasons are not insurance or safety - but money. For instance dodging the airport surcharges and rank fees - because with GPS you get a better service, and a taxi driver with a known 'reputation' score - rather than pot luck new arrival immigrant taxi driver with variable english skills. How dare passengers be able to 'choose' good ones.

This is on top of some airports who ban public transport (buses) from stopping in front, and make then pickup a good stretch from the exit (but not so airport busses, who pay a large percentage to the airport). Again a money issue, over and above actual passenger convience. The airport owners and other leeches just want to keep their own private taxation rackets safe from 'disruptive technology'.

'Share' private busses are just around the corner - a natural extension of efficiency. Public officials will have a real headache here,
as bus drivers in my country, have to pass health, criminal, eyesight and lots of other checks, driving record etc, and busses have all the paperwork to pick up passengers.

Re:Er what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432503)

That's not true at all. Most of these services require the driver to provide all manner of licensing, insurance, and other documentation. If someone were robbed or injured there would be plenty of recourse due to the sheer amount of documentation. Also, robbing someone will get you kicked off the services. After each ride your passengers are typically given a survey or some kind of opportunity to rate you.

It's better than a taxi because you can rate shitty drivers out of the system.

Safe? Who are these crazy cabbies kidding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44432243)

Yesterday I took cabs from Potrero Hill to the Mission and back in San Francisco. The first driver was a recent immigrant who had a lit joint in his cab and talked about God while driving down 16th like it was a stockcar race. The way home wasn't much better. We had another very recent immigrant who constantly shelled and ate pistachios the entire drive.

Safe? Not so much.

 

Re:Safe? Who are these crazy cabbies kidding? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44432357)

What are you complaining about? In the average roller coaster park people pay good money for rides like that.

Re:Safe? Who are these crazy cabbies kidding? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44432435)

It may not be safe, but it is entertainment. Are you getting that level of entertainment from a ride share service? Didn't think so!

SFO hostility (2)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | about a year ago | (#44432309)

I've got to say SFO is consistently the most hostile airport I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot of them.

But this just beggars belief and basically boils down to taxi drivers wanting a monopoly and "somehow" convincing the airport officials to back them.

You can't do anything for free in the good old US-of-A, its bound to upset some corporation or other, and they're the ones with all the power, not the voters.

Re:SFO hostility (1)

pthisis (27352) | about a year ago | (#44432407)

There's nothing "For Free" here. Uber, Lyft, and the like are for-profit companies that charge a fare to drive you around--it's phrased as a "suggested donation", but the way their ratings system works you'll get cut out of the system (unable to use them in the future) if you don't pay. Drivers average about $30/hour, the companies take a percentage (20% for Lyft, not sure about the others).

They're basically unlicensed limo services, though they've been in talks with CPUC to get licensed and bonded and come into compliance with the law.

And next ? (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#44432373)

So, when we can call our Google car from our phone to come and pick us up automatically, will they arrest us too ? Taxi driver has always been a job for idiots and immigrants who don't speak the language. I know, there's one in the family.
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