San Francisco cab drivers protest ride-share companies

San Francisco taxi drivers protest smartphone-based ride-sharing companies in front of City Hall.
July 30, 2013 7:53:43 PM PDT
Tuesday afternoon, a long-awaited ruling spelled out the future of ride-sharing services like Lyft and Sidecar.

Taxi drivers staged an angry protest, flooding the streets around San Francisco City Hall. They created a colorful, ear-splitting traffic jam -- demanding an end to smartphone-based ride-sharing services. They insist those drivers are stealing their fares.

"Can I get a cheer here from everyone who has a family to feed? These illegal taxis are making it impossible for law abiding cab drivers like you and I to pay our bills, keep a roof over our head and feed our families," said Trevor Johnson of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association.

Cabbies also heaped criticism on Mayor Ed Lee. who says he supports the new services alongside taxis.

"Companies like Lyft and Uber and others, they were creating jobs in the city; new jobs. And they were also fulfilling needs that if the customers didn't like them, they wouldn't have to use them. And I also think that we're helping taxis with additional medallions at the same time," he said.

Tempers flared at the presence of one Sidecar driver who showed up.

"It's pretty bad. I actually got threatened by two cab drivers, and I'm just here to give a voice to Sidecar," he said.

On word that a judge was about to issue his long awaited ruling on the services, the protesters marched to the Public Utilities Commission, blocking traffic. The ruling recommended allowing Sidecar, Lyft and Uber-X to keep operating as they are after filing some additional paperwork.

"The Public Utilities Commission acknowledging that this is a great service for society, for California. I mean, people love this service," said Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul.

Before commissioners can vote the judge's recommendations into law, there is a 30-day period to allow public comments on the matter.


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