Rideshare drivers fear increased traffic enforcement could hurt passengers

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip via KGO logo
Thursday, August 15, 2019
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San Francisco is going after some drivers for picking up and dropping off passengers in restricted zones. That isn't sitting well with some rideshare drivers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is going after drivers for picking up and dropping off passengers in restricted zones. That isn't sitting well with some rideshare drivers. Some say this traffic enforcement brings to light a lack of a clear traffic plan in the city to ease congestion.

Don Taylor drives full time for Lyft. His goal each day is to take home $200 in fares.

He showed 7 On Your Side three of the four tickets he says he's received in the last month.

"One ticket can mess up that whole day's worth of work because at that point you're just driving for the city," said Taylor.

He says MTA employees are taking photos of violators and then sending the registered vehicle owners tickets. Taylor took a video and chased drivers away before they could get ticketed.

"Hey listen, you can film all you want," said the MTA employee. "As soon as you start interfering with our job, we'll make a phone call."

We spoke to six other rideshare drivers who had similar experiences with tickets. All declined to go on camera.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency also declined to go on camera, but said it tickets all violators and not just rideshare drivers. In fact, a shuttle driver also said he received a ticket for picking up in a taxi zone.

"There's no signs or there's a sign above your head where you really can't see it," said Anderson Jackson, the shuttle driver.

Taxi zones are painted white, similar to a white passenger zone where rideshare drivers are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers.

The rideshare drivers get no sympathy from taxi drivers who say the signage is clear.

"San Francisco taxi drivers pay a lot of fees to the city for the right to operate as a taxi cab driver in San Francisco, and part of that includes us having taxi zones," said Ken Lindquist, who's been driving a taxi for more than 20 years.

A recent study found that two-thirds of all new traffic in the city from 2010 to 2016 came from rideshare drivers.

"There's very little regulation of Uber and Lyfts at the moment and it's causing some serious traffic problems," said Lindquist.

But Taylor says he's providing a service by getting people out of their personal vehicles.

He has one message for passengers.

"Please be mindful where you stand to get picked up, because it can cause a driver to get a ticket," he pleaded.

The SFMTA says there is no timetable of when a traffic plan will be released, but says it's constantly looking to improve traffic congestion.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.