The Hotel Council is a partner in San Francisco’s Vision Zero safety plan and our transportation priority is to ensure our members are represented when traffic proposals may impact their businesses. The Hotel Council participates in working groups, workshops, and meetings on behalf of our members to ensure employees and visitors can travel in and around San Francisco with ease.
Are Uber and Lyft rakish rule-breakers in the great tradition of American swashbuckling capitalism? Or are they law-defying corporate predators, flooding city streets with their unregulated vehicles and exploiting their drivers — sorry, “independent contractors” — in the process?
Written by: David Talbot
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More and more city governments around the world lean to the second interpretation of the ride-hailing giants whose fleets now dominate the urban landscape. But with their enormous political clout in state and municipal offices, Uber and Lyft have resisted regulatory efforts — nowhere more successfully than in California, where the state Public Utilities Commission’s oversight has been laughably feeble.
Uber has been particularly brash in its defiance of local authorities. It was reported this month that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating Uber’s use of a covert software program code-named Greyball to evade officials in cities such as Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, that were trying to regulate the $69 billion company. And when Donald Trump’s Justice Department thinks your business is out of control, you know you’ve crossed the line.
Here in San Francisco, where every car in front of you seems to have an Uber or Lyft logo on it these days, the traffic tensions are soaring. And nobody is more upset about the arrogance of the ride-hailing companies than Ed Reiskin, director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, whose buses and trains must jostle every day with the thousands of cars working for TNCs — “transportation network companies,” as the state PUC designates them.