How we can tax Uber

Maybe SF can charge a fee for all the congestion, street damage, and Muni impacts of 45,000 new cars on the streets

Pretty much everyone in San Francisco these days (except for Mayor Ed Lee) has come to the conclusion that Uber is a problem. Progressives, conservatives, even business leaders are noticing that you can’t get around town any more: With 45,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles on the streets, many driven by people who aren’t paying attention to the road because they are looking at the maps on their phones, traffic is as bad as it’s ever been.

Uber driver blocks the bike lane on Valencia
Uber driver blocks the bike lane on Valencia

It’s horrible for people who try to drive around town; everyone single person I know who drives regularly in the city is infuriated. It’s scary for those of us who normally use two-wheeled human-powered transportation: I can’t ride in the bike lane on Valencia Street on a Thursday or Friday evening any more, since the lanes are totally clogged with Ubers who pull in and out with no warning, make illegal U-turns, and act as if the bike lane was their private parking area.

Somebody’s going to get killed.

I remember the Uber folks arguing that “ride sharing” (no, it’s not sharing; that’s what happens when you help your friends, this is a commercial transaction) would get people to give up their cars. See? An alternative.

Instead, from what I can see (with no data, more on that later), it appears that a lot of people who have plenty of disposable income have decided that Uber is more convenient than Muni, so we have taken people off public transit and put them in cars.

That’s why there are so many more cars on the road. Or so it seems.

Meanwhile, Uber has a market capitalization in the stratosphere, the founders and the investors are getting really, really rich running what started as an illegal cab industry and was only retroactively legalized by the state Public Utilities Commission, which isn’t exactly the most trustworthy of organizations.

The drivers aren’t doing so well, either: They work hard for often very modest pay. Many can’t afford to live in the city, so they drive long distances to come to work, drive long shifts, and then drive long distances to get home. Uber exploits its workers like an old-fashioned robber baron.

All of this takes a toll on the city – on the roads, on the time we all spend in traffic, on the danger to pedestrians and bicyclists. I suspect this is something that a nexus study could quantify.

Nexus studies are part of how cities survive these days under state laws that don’t allow us to raise taxes without going to extraordinary lengths. The Board of Supes can’t just tax Uber – but if we can prove that Uber has a demonstrable financial impact on the city, we can charge a fee to mitigate that impact.

That’s how we charge developers (far too little) for the impact they have on Muni. It’s how we set fees for converting industrial space into office space.

And maybe it’s a way to start taxing Uber and Lyft for the mayhem they are causing.

So maybe it’s time for one of the supervisors to call for the city controller to do a nexus study on how much Uber and Lyft costs San Franciscans in increased congestion (which wastes the time and thus the money of everyone on the road), increased road repairs, increased needs for traffic enforcement personnel, increased delays for Muni, lost revenue for Muni … I could come up with a long list of quantifiable impacts that these companies cause.

Then, by state law, we could charge the companies (NOT the drivers, the companies themselves) a significant fee every year to cover the costs.

Then maybe we can get state legislation (although I despair of Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember David Chiu going after the “sharing economy”) that would allow us to limit the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on the streets.

We are a transit-first city, and our transit is being attacked by private car companies.

Something must be done. Maybe we can start with a nexus study and a fee.

  • 4th Gen SF

    Uber is a lifeline for many immigrants & the poor. Taxing Uber only hurts the poor, Uber will just take even MORE fees from the poor trying to make it. Most taxes are regressive anyway, like the new gas tax that will take effect in November. Who will be hurt? The poor & the middle class.

    • Tony

      Taxis are more of a lifeline than UBER- especially to those who can’t afford a new Smartphone or have credit cards. Poor often pay with cash more than with their Platinum Cards via their iPhone. If you are non-resident alien or poor, you probably don’t have a Platinum Card. Uber is for young rich kids in their 20’s

      • 4th Gen SF
        • Geek__Girl

          Interesting… The headline seem to say one thing, while the article says, “The more drivers rely on Uber, the poorer they’re likely to be.” The headline makes it sound like they depend on Uber to make money. The article actually seems to be saying that the more they work for Uber, the poorer they become….which seems far more likely. They are paying for gas, maintenance, taxes, and the depreciation of their car, which has to meet Uber’s standards. I mean, we are not talking about poor people driving older cars. They have to be relatively new, which means they are probably making pretty hefty payments.

      • Charlain

        Most people, including most working class people have at least a debit card, if not a credit card. Also, all this nonsense about “Platinum Card” shows you are not even interested in making rational arguments. You have a set agenda and simply will spin “alternative facts” to support it.

        • Ragazzu

          Many low-income seniors and disabled use the MTA’s subsidized paratransit card in taxis. BTW, when’s the last time you saw an Uber or Lyft driver loading a wheelchair into the trunk?

          • Charlain

            I saw my neighbor who has a mobility disability use an Uber the other day. Of course, I didn’t check if he paid with his platinum or electrum credit card–he may have used his Jaideite card.

            And, yes, I am well aware of taxi scrips, I used to volunteer to represent people with disabilities with their appeals when they had been initially denied para-transit services.

            In any event, I think we are getting far afield from the point of this article.

          • Ragazzu

            Really? You saw an Uber/Lyft amateur loading up your neighbor’s wheelchair and/or service dog?

          • Charlain

            Uber has had wheelchair accessible cars in SF since 2014. There is a little law called the ADA that has been in effect since 1990, and it applies to Uber just as it does to any other service sold to the general public.

            If you need a wheelchair accessible Uber, you order an Uber Assist for collapsible wheelchairs or an Uber WAV for motorized wheelchairs.

            That said, I am aware that Uber has been rightfully criticized for not offering enough wheel-chair accessible vehicles designed for motorized wheelchairs (the WAV vehicles), and they have paid fines accordingly and rolled out additional vehicles.

            All that said, paratransit services are still provided under the administration of the SFMTA. Uber/Lyft have an obligation to be in compliance with the ADA, but the existence of Uber or Lyft does not limit access to paratransit services. In the past, from my own personal experience representing individuals seeking paratransit services, what limited access to paratransit services were SFMTA policies designed to deny and delay access to these services in order to save money (I.e. intentional cost-cutting bureaucratic policies).

          • Ragazzu

            Hey, all I asked is whether you’ve ever seen an Uber/Lyft driver loading a wheelchair into the trunk. I haven’t.

          • Charlain

            I am giving you background information. You don’t need to get defensive.

            Your initial comment to me was also a little snarky, and then when I try to answer questions you are asking you seem to be taken aback.

          • Ragazzu

            The answer is…?

          • Charlain

            The answer I thought was implicit when I said my disabled neighbor took an Uber–yes.

          • Ragazzu

            Finally. But if true, it’s an anecdotal outlier.

          • Charlain

            Hon, if you are only interested in having people post what you want to read, then it begs the question why you bother to waste your time discussing issues on a discussion board?

            If you don’t believe me, then why press for an answer in the first place? And, yes, of course it is anecdotal. Everything that is not the result of empirical scientific research is anectodal, including your own personal experience, so your comment comes across as pretty silly.

          • Geek__Girl

            I notice you avoid the issue of service dogs. Uber got hit hard on that one.

          • Geek__Girl

            And Uber has repeatedly violated the ADA:

            https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-10-13/disability-rights-groups-sues-uber-over-wheelchair-access

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/21/uber-disability-laws-don-t-apply-to-us

            https://www.wired.com/2015/08/uber-disability/

            http://hotellaw.jmbm.com/fed-court-hits-uber-for-ada.html

            http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/02/technology/uber-access/

            http://www.williamgoren.com/blog/tag/uber/

            Oh, and just so you know, based on these articles, from legitimate news sources, you’ve been caught in lies. You claim Uber has been ADA compliant since 2014. Nope. Real facts vs. one bit of highly questionable anecdotal evidence. Whoops.

            Oh, and I am not being defensive. I am being offensive, and I can be damn good at it.

          • Charlain

            No, you are not very good at being “offensive.” (And, exactly who do you think you are being “offensive” with? This isn’t a battle, except perhaps in your imagination). You are lying in your own post while you attempt to accuse me of lying. NOWHERE in my post did I claim “Uber has been ADA compliant since 2014.” That is a straight up lie on your part.

            What I said is “Uber has had wheelchair accessible cars in SF since 2014,” which is true. That is quite a big difference between stating that fact and claiming that just because Uber has had some wheelchair accessible cars it has been compliant with the ADA.

            I also said:
            “That said, I am aware that Uber has been rightfully criticized for not offering enough wheel-chair accessible vehicles designed for motorized wheelchairs (the WAV vehicles), and they have paid fines accordingly and rolled out additional vehicles.” Again, you choose to ignore large portions of my comments when they do not fit your narrative.

            So, Tim’s paid intern, it seems you are not very good with “real facts.” (Just as you are not very good understanding how PR works). But, I guess Tim gets what he pays for.

          • Geek__Girl

            I have repeatedly refuted your rather lame attempts at actual arguments. Your reliance on ad hominem speaks for itself. No, it isn’t a battle. You haven’t actually put up a fight. I quoted what you said, and I showed that it was not true. A lie does not have to be explicit. You tried, rather lamely, to create an illusion, and I sent it down in flames. Having one, or two, wheelchair accessible cars, as a sort of distraction, is not being ADA compliant. And no, I have no claimed Uber has been ADA compliant. I have basically shown that they, in their typical fashion, told to disabled to go fornicate with themselves.

            No, Uber has been rightly criticized, and has been penalized, for basically telling the disabled to go fornicate with themselves. There is a difference. Uber is not a nice organization. They are a bunch of crooked, arrogant jerks, who are more akin to a bad stereotype of a college fraternity from a movie than a major company. They are headed by an immature jerk, with pretty much no morals. Granted, stereotypes have some basis in truth. Uber reminds me, more than anything else, of the fraternities that were on campus in my college days. Some of the rumors seemed outlandish, but were sadly, all too true. Boorish behavior, drunken antics, a complete lack of morals, politically aligned with the far right, sexist, greedy, arrogant, selfish, and convinced that they actually had the right to act like they did..

            And those are actual facts.

          • Charlain

            “Actual Facts” as opposed to not actual facts? Also, just running a bunch of adjectives together (sexist, greedy, selfish, etc) is not s statement of fact.

            I have to admit I am having a little bit of fun watching you get unhinged. Each post you make is so over-the-top, it is somewhat amusing to read. You should become a performance artist.

            Anyway, enough about Uber, do you enjoy your internship? Hopefully, you have been enjoying the pleasant weather and getting outside for a nice walk.

          • Geek__Girl

            Yes, actual facts. Those things you keep trying to avoid. And no, I did not just run a bunch of adjectives together. I am speaking from experience observing the Greek system at the University of Alabama. One of my favorite stories was about the fraternity, it was the “Phi Gamma Deltas” aka the FIJIs. A freshman, who was from a rural area, was wandering around campus, and noticed the various frat houses. He was curious, and went to the door of the FIJI house, knocked, and asked what they were, and what it was all about. The members answer the door sent word upstairs, and the freshman was admitted. After a bit of time to allow them to set things up, he was escorted to a room, where the president of the house was lying on a bed naked, except for a guitar. The poor fellow was subjected to a round of bizarre tales, some of which implied that the whole house was a bunch of gays, and that he was about to be raped. He fled in terror. Unfortunately for the FIJIs, he went to the nearby University Police office, reported what happened, and well, not only were the member’s girlfriends less than happy to hear about things that their boyfriends had said, the house was in very serious trouble, and was kicked out of the National chapter for several years, and shut down,

            So, tell me how I “just” strung a bunch of adjectives together, That is just ONE of a number of stories. Others, like the one about why the Delta Kappa Epsilon (Dekes) house always has a goat tied up outside when it is time to initiate new pledges, I will spare you. The claims may not actually be true, but they go to a lot of trouble to make people think they are.

            And just so you know, I am retired, and hardly an intern. But do please tell me how much Uber pays you? Is it by the word, or are you a secretary there, and this is just part of your duties?

          • Geek__Girl

            For you, the point of the article is clearly to shill for Uber.

          • Charlain

            Ha, I wish. It would be nice if I could get paid to post comments, sadly I have to work at day job for a living.

            Geek, get a dictionary. Just because you disagree with someone, it does not mean they are “shilling,” at least use words correctly.

            Also, if you bothered to read my comments (though, reading does not appear to be your strong suit), you would have seen I criticized Uber for its labor practices, hardly something a “shill” would do.

            I think Uber needs to reform its labor practices for drivers and it certainly needs to reform its corporate culture with respect to how employees are treated. But, as for its transit services, they have really changed the face of transit, not just in SF, but nationwide–it is much easier to get around than it used to be, especially for people like myself who do not live on a Muni train line. That said, I feel more aligned with the corporate values of Lyft, rather than Uber as it currently operates. In any event, Uber/Lyft are here to stay, and soon will come driverless cars, which will be a real boon not just for passengers but for the city as a whole. It will be great to see parking spaces and parking structures and even some road right-away eventually reclaimed for better uses.

          • Geek__Girl

            When someone is basically quoting the same tired lies that appear every time Uber gets exposed. I am using it correctly. I hardly expect you to willing admit you are either paid by Uber, or are and employee of theirs, and yet, you clearly are repeating their claims.

            I think Uber needs to be run out of business. They have proven to be a very corrupt operation that has repeatedly broken the law. They cheat both drivers and passengers, they steal from other companies, they have violated several Federals regulating the use of computers, they have engaged in prohibited predatory pricing in violation of anti-trust laws, they have sexually harassed employees, they have refused to deal with their drivers who are impaired in an appropriate manner, they have refused to properly screen drivers, they have failed to properly comply with ADA regulations, they have had a rather large number of drivers who have committed crimes against passengers including rape and violent assault….and that pretty much just scratches the surface.

          • Charlain

            What lies have I quoted? Your making baseless claims is not persuasive. Your method of arguing seems to be you just disagree and then make stupid allegations that someone is being paid to comment.

            Also, if Uber were paying me, then I would expect they would ask for a full refund since I criticized both their labor and employment practices more than once. You are only making yourself look very foolish.

            Also, I already said in my earlier comments that Uber has been rightfully criticized for not being in full compliance with the ADA. Again, you are the one who just looks completely silly.

            Finally, TAXI companies who supposedly vet their drivers better have also had drivers commit rape and murder of passengers. Ask the family of Julie Christine Day how they feel about the SF cab driver who raped and strangled her to death while she was a passenger in his cab.

          • Geek__Girl

            Interesting choice of phrase. Now, why would you say, “What lies have I quoted?” unless you are repeating material fed to you by someone else, like say, Uber? You claimed, and I quote, “Uber has had wheelchair accessible cars in SF since 2014. There is a little law called the ADA that has been in effect since 1990, and it applies to Uber just as it does to any other service sold to the general public.” Among the actual news articles that I cited, as opposed to simply making a claim that has now been refuted, are at least one that was dated since 2014 that refutes that claim. Uber has a history of violating the ADA, and getting sued for it.

          • Charlain

            Geek Girl, paranoia is not healthy. Hopefully, you are speaking to a counselor about your issues.

            Also, I never claimed that Uber has not had issues with the ADA. Either you cannot read or you are just delusional since you keep conveniently ignoring that I have criticized Uber several times in my posts, which is something someone being “fed material” would not do.

            Also, my “choice of phrase” is YOUR OWN WORDS. Are you so out of it that you did not realize that I was quoting YOU?

            Discussing issues with you is getting tedious since you do not want to have a discussion, you just want to parrot some tired position. I get it, you think Uber is bad–you can have that opinion, but repeating variations of that same simple opinion multiple times is not persuasive and does not make you sound any smarter. Move on.

          • Geek__Girl

            Ah, classic ad hominem. It is not paranoia if it is based on facts.

            No, you just tried to hand wave those issues away, with your silliness about how you had seen a neighbor’s wheelchair loaded in the trunk by an Uber driver. And by dodging the question of service dogs,

            You are posting the same garbage that appears in responses to articles on Uber. Go look on SFGate. You either read all this there, or you are getting it from the same source they are. I will grant, I did miss that I have said “quoting” in reference to your repetition, pretty much word for word, of the same arguments repeated ad infinitum on other sites. But, I stand by my point. It seems a bit odd that the wording never changes significantly. As someone who has worked in public relations at one time (PR director for a dance company) I have some familiarity with things like the concept of “talking points.” A company like Uber is going to tightly restrict what people are allowed to say, and using “social media,” which include comment sections of the media, are a very common ploy in modern PR. Your posts sound like numerous others, supposedly from different people.

          • Charlain

            Geek, describing someone’s actual behavior is NOT an ad hominem attack. Your posts have gone from silly to just paranoid. Apparently, unless someone parrots the same nonsense you post they must be a paid “shill.” You sound just as delusional as the tin foil hat conspiracy theorists.

            You claim to have worked in PR, yet your posts demonstrate no knowledge of how PR works. No company would pay someone to criticize them as I have nor would they pay someone to admit they have had issues with the ADA, as I have, too. And, Uber would never pay me to compliment their competitor Lyft, as I did. Again, you keep ignoring things in my comments that do not conveniently fit into your narrative.

            Also, 48 Hills has a very minor number of readers and the blog is hostile toward Uber. What would be the benefit to pay someone to post here? To try to convince delusional people such as yourself something different? That would be a collosal waste of time and money.

            The fact you keep parroting this nonsense almost makes me think you are the one getting paid to post on this website. Maybe, you are really Tim Redmond or an intern working for him. That would make way more sense than Uber paying someone to post here.

          • Geek__Girl

            Ah, but you haven’t done that. You just flat out made an attack. You did not address the points I raised, you tried to attack them, by attacking me. And no, again, let me explain this very simply….when you are posting, almost verbatim, the same things Uber defenders have repeated, over and over, on other comment sections, then it seems highly probable that you are simply repeating talking points supplied by someone. Now, maybe you are just unable to actually come up with original thoughts, and simply repeat stuff you have read elsewhere. If so, well, that is kind of sad. I have ignored nothing, whereas you have avoided hard questions, like the issue of service animals, which Uber got in trouble for.

            As to the rest of your arguments, they are rather weak. You seem rather obsessed with proving you are not a paid shill. Whatever. Whether you are, or are not, you have not done much to defend Uber, and are now resorting to desperate claims. Nope, I have never met Tim Redmond, nor do I work for him. And seriously? As I said, “social media” is a rather significant topic in PR. Some firms base their reputation on being “experts” in the field.

            And again, ad hominem attacks show you have no real arguments.

          • Charlain

            Geek, I have described your behavior and you apparently don’t like how you are behaving. Apparently, you cannot read your own remarks. It is hilarious to see you claim that I am “obsessed” with proving I am not a “paid shill,” when you have accused me of being a paid shill multiply times in your remarks. There is an obsession and it is on your part. You must be very lonely.

            Also, you do not seem to get that if the best you can do is accuse me of being a “paid shill” or supposedly repeating “talking points,” then your own arguments must be pretty weak. “Talking points” can be discussed, debated, critiqued, etc. just waving your hand and saying “talking points” is not how you make a cogent argument.

            Your whole interaction with me has been bizarre and immature. You post teenager-like posts claiming you are being “offensive” and you are “damn good at it” (reflecting your low self-esteem and need for validation), you keep going on and on about how I must be a paid shill, and rambling about other general nonsense while conveniently ignoring my remarks that you cannot make a respose to, and then you get upset when I point out that you are being very silly.

            Also, you keep bragging about how you allegedly know about PR when your comments show no general awareness of it. Yes, social media is a component of PR, but going on a minor local blog that is hostile to you would NOT be an effective use of social media. Posting on SFGate and other MAJOR local media, as well as Twitter, Facebook, etc would make some sense, but a company wasting money to have someone post on 48 Hills makes zero sense–it would be an incredible waste of time and money.

            I understand you are delusional. Unfortunately, I cannot help you. Good luck to you.

          • Geek__Girl

            Let’s see…you have engaged in ad hominem attacks, and when you get called on it, you try to excuse it by simply repeating them. You spend a lot of effort on some pretty ridiculous excuses why you are not a paid shill.

            The concept of “talking points” is to control what is said. A company like Uber does not want someone screwing up, and saying something that comes back to bite them on butt. So, they tell people what to “say,” which is what “talking points” means. As in, you can say this, this, and this, but nothing more. And again, you are falling back on ad hominem. You cannot respond to actual arguments, so you attack me. That pretty much sums it up.

            You are rather amusing, and I rather enjoy trying to educate people like you on the finer points of forensics, but seriously, if you can’t do any better, find another line of work. Otherwise, I will continue having a hearty laugh at your behavior, and you will continue preaching to those who don’t have the good sense to think for themselves.

          • Porfirio666

            And when was the last time you saw a cab drive out to The Sunset to pick up a senior citizen? I guess you weren’t alive in 1950, the last time it happened.

          • Ragazzu

            Every day.

          • Porfirio666

            Yes, thanks to Uber, the regular taxis have to expand their reach and will venture into the Sunset now. That never happened before 2013.

          • Ragazzu

            You mean, thanks to Flywheel (formerly Cabulous), which came out before Uber and Lyft. But actually, many seniors don’t use smartphones, and some rely on the SFMTA’s paratransit taxi card. To them, Uber and Lyft spells danger at every crosswalk.

            See http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/rideshare-incidents

            This article is a week old now. Time to move on.

          • Porfirio666

            Yes, Flywheel is great! It’s really taken off since the Uber Revolution began. Nice to see that the taxi-fleet operators can adjust to change instead of only being reactionary. Thanks for the link, Rags.

      • Geek__Girl

        Yes, but what he is talking about is how Uber suckers in people with no jobs. They con them into thinking that driving for Uber is a viable way of getting by. It is a sick joke. Sort of like Taskrabbit, which is another “sharing economy” company that preys on poor people.

  • Easy

    I believe there was a study on congestion pricing cars in central SF done a while back. The scheme may need to be adapted for Uber cars that just stay in the congestion zone all day. Perhaps a per-hour charge while in the zone? And the clock stops while you’re parked at a paid lot or meter?

    • 4th Gen SF

      Congestion taxes do nothing but enrich bureaucrats and penalize the poor. Ask London.

  • FunnyBecauseItsTrue

    Uber/lyft are probably the best thing that has happened to urban living in the past 10 years. Its cheap reliable transit for pretty much anyone, my Uber pools are usually about 3.75, and I regularly ride with working class folks/families/etc. that said the need to get the F out of the bike lanes

    • No_Diggity

      Agreed. The system is super convenient and affordable, but the moving violations are INSANE. I would add illegal u-turns, double parking and blocking intersections.

    • Ragazzu
      • FunnyBecauseItsTrue

        Well that list of crimes makes me feel EVEN MORE CONFIDENT that Uber and lyft are safer than muni and Bart LOL.

        Which sucks because I would love safe reliable faster than car transit.

        • Geek__Girl

          Yes, definitely a paid shill. No one could be that foolish.

    • Geek__Girl

      Wow, even though Uber has given up flooding SFGate and the Chronicle with shills, they seem to be still doing it here.

  • sebra leaves

    We were a lot better off before SFMTA decided to punish drivers by removing parking, traffic lanes, bus stops and bus seats. Now they have decided the SF Bicycle Coalition knows more about putting out fires and saving lives than the Fired Department. Nothing they have tired to do to control people and traffic has worked so far. SFMTA can’t provide reliable service to Muni riders with their billion dollar budget so their answer to their own incompetence is to demand more money to spend on capital improvements. Nextbus is a perfect example. The program doesn’t work yet, but, if we spend another 3 million dollars it might some day. What a farce.

    • FunnyBecauseItsTrue

      LOL, your first complaint is loss of parking, really shows what team you’re playing for. Take your concern trolling somewhere else.

  • Alex

    “Pretty much everyone in San Francisco these days (except for Mayor Ed Lee) has come to the conclusion that Uber is a problem.”

    Tim either knows no one in San Francisco under the age of, say, 45, or is much more of a fucking idiot than I thought he was.

    • pickles94114

      Tell that to the 4 cyclists at my office downtown who were all doored by Ubers or Lyfts in the last few months. And yes they all fit your important under-45 demographic. Ubers are convenient, but I don’t know anyone who *doesn’t* acknowledge they’re a hazard.

      • playland

        Dooring has been a known hazard for decades before Uber or Lyft; smart bikers have been anticipating being doored just like they anticipate unexpected right turns.

        I’m not excusing inconsiderate passengers but it is problematic to blame Uber/Lyft for a situation that significantly predates them.

      • 4th Gen SF

        As someone who bicycled the entire city for years I agree that dooring is a problem but it was a problem before Uber & Lyft. OTOH getting a ride is way easier now, esp when I’m too tired to bike. And Uber/Lyft actually show up unlike the taxi services

      • Charlain

        Doored? How would the risk be any lower than if we went back to having thousands of cabs, as there once were on the streets? Uber/Lyfts/taxis/cars in general do not “door” people, careless people do it when opening a door. At least make rational arguments.

        • Geek__Girl

          Uh, sorry Ms. Uber Shill. There are STILL taxis on the street. They haven’t gone away. Of course, I realize that has to be part of the party line. Got to have people thinking taxis are all but dead. Plenty of them, safe, trained, and properly screened, professional drivers. Who are not spending more time looking at their phones than where they are going. No surge pricing. No worries that the guy driving you might be a sex offender. No giving money to a company run by a total jerk. No giving money to a corrupt organization. No taking a risk if there is an accident. The list can go on, and on, if you wish….

          • SF Sunset Guy

            yeah, taxi companies – as pure as the driven snow!

          • Geek__Girl

            Compared to Uber? Yes, they are.

    • Tony

      Alex – At all times during the day and evening, one can see the dangerous situations, horrible driving skills, and plain rudeness displayed by these drivers who are distracted by their phones and GPS devices, in a hurry to get to their next fare, and refuse to pull over to the curb to get their fares, unless it is a MUNI stop. There needs to be some reasonable regulations for these Taxi Cabs, which have flooded the streets. Close to 1,000 per square mile in the city – and I would guess 10X that downtown.

      • Charlain

        There are regulations. All the behavior you mention is ALREADY illegal. Uber drivers are subject to the same rules of the road as any other car driver. Perhaps the police should do their jobs, oh, but that’s right they are all walking neighborhood beats because we have passed all these silly policies micro-managing how policing should occur–maybe one of of the officers on foot can try to chase down an Uber (or any other careless driver).

        • Geek__Girl

          Uber does not believe in following laws. Seriously, they work hard to avoid having to turn away people with records, including sex offenders. They are desperate for bodies in cars, and probably the poorer the better.

          Oh, and another shill is here telling us that “senior citizens” love Uber. Of course, you are more in line with the Uber sales pitch. That’s it’s a “hip” thing.

          • Charlain

            Geek, if your claim is Uber does not follow the law, then passing more laws and regulations would be useless, so you are undercutting your own argument. The complaints the poster Tony listed were about the independent contractor DRIVERS not following existing traffic laws, and the the proper response is for SFPD to enforce existing traffic laws. But, SFPD barely enforces any laws in this city, traffic violations being the least of its concerns, and that applies to all drivers not just Uber drivers. So, get the Board of Supervisors to fund more officers for traffic patrol.

            Also, I am not sure what senior citizens have to do with Uber one way or another. Respond to the person who posted the comment with your objections, not to me.

          • Geek__Girl

            Well, that’s an interesting argument…classic Uber. Uber tends to fight efforts to regulate its “independent drivers,” like trying to assist them from actually having to pay their proper taxes. I am simply pointing out conflicts between you, and another who is trying to “defend” Uber rather aggressively. And claiming SFPD barely enforces any laws would probably get quite a laugh from those saddled with rather expensive tickets.

          • Charlain

            Yes, the small handful of people who actually get tickets would tell you that they got tickets. For the rest of us who live in the city, we see dangerous drivers left to drive recklessly everyday. I live off Van Ness, and every day I see cars speeding, nearly hitting pedestrians who have the right of way, and engaging in other reckless behavior. I have yet to see a ticket given to any driver. So, I am quite happy to make a small group of people laugh away at their bad luck.

            Also, you cannot have it both ways. If your claim is SFPD vigorously enforces traffic laws, then Uber drivers would not be getting away with committing frequent traffic violations as you and others claim since they would all have received multiple tickets and it simply would not be profitable for them to keep driving recklessly. So, you just trapped yourself in your own illogic.

          • Geek__Girl

            Not everyone gets caught. People get tickets all the time. I have seen SFPD with people pulled over.

            But let’s consider this. The Mayor is heavily influenced by Ron Conway, who is heavily invested in tech, and Lee’s wife and daughter are both employed by Lyft. It is not unreasonable to think that SFPD just might be discouraged from ticketing Uber and Lyft. I do know that I have observed Uber drivers regularly violating the law. And Uber drivers are trying to cut corners every chance they get. They are not making tons of money. Getting someone in their vehicle, and getting to their location, and finding another is essential. Being reckless is the only way of making a profit. Cabs lack that incentive, since their rates, like cab rates anywhere, are based on mileage, and time. A cab stuck in traffic has no incentive to do something stupid to try to save time. For an Uber driver, being stuck in traffic is a loss.

          • Charlain

            You have never seen a cab drive recklessly? And, cabs have the same incentive to make money as Uber does. The more customers, the more money. And, cabs actually generally charge less than Uber when surge pricing is in effect. But, even on fares where they charge more they have the same incentive to make more money by turning over the cab quickly.

            And, your whole tin foil hat conspiracy theory that the police are not enforcing traffic laws against Uber under secret orders from the Mayor is hilarious. You must have really gone off your meds. To begin with, there is the fact that the Uber decal is very small and it is often hard to tell if a car is an Uber car, so I guess the police just pull over an Uber and then let them go once they see the car is an Uber vehicle? And, gee, no one has noticed this alleged massive conspiracy going on under their noses?

          • Geek__Girl

            Funny, I don’t recall saying that. I simply pointed out that cabs are paid by the mile, and for time spent stopped at a light or in traffic past a certain point. So, a cab has no reason to try to beat a light, or other such things. As to surge pricing, that is a whole different can of worms. A nice little scam n the part of Uber for ripping off its customers. Some incidents have been outrageous. Like when BART had a major meltdown, and Uber was taking people for over $100 in some cases. That is outright robbery.

            I did not say that the police ignore Uber, I simply put out a suggestion of what is possible. Lee does seem t have a blind eye to certain things, especially when Ron Conway says, “Lee, don’t you dare!” And Uber decals are very easy to spot. That’s how I know to flip the bird whenever I see one. But, nice attempt at a dodge. Again, I am not saying that there is any conspiracy, since you throw out such an absurd dodge, a police officer would be too blind to serve on the force if he couldn’t spot an Uber decal.

            Seriously, some of your arguments are really funny.

    • Geek__Girl

      Wake up and smell the BS. Uber is increasingly unpopular. It used to be that any article on Uber on SFGate would produce dozens of comments defending them. Now, the opposite is true. Uber is in deep trouble. Even formerly friendly media is starting to shake their heads in dismay at their corruption. Uber is NOT profitable, and it is being pressured to go public. Most companies at Uber’s point in development, would be gnashing at the bit to do so. But Uber is running as hard as possible in the other direction. If they don’t go public, and provide a return to the VC funding them, the VC will tell them “No more.” Without VC funding, Uber is in deep trouble. If they go public, they are in even deeper trouble. Uber is turning into a bad joke. They are corrupt, they are unprofitable, and they are a nuisance.

      • SF Sunset Guy

        they seem to rent a lot of space in your head.

        • Geek__Girl

          If you haven’t figured out, I have no lover for Uber. They are basically organized crime. Well, not that organized, but definitely criminal.

  • playland

    It’s horrible for people who try to drive around town; everyone single person I know who drives regularly in the city is infuriated.

    I’m with Tim on this one. Every time I am driving around town in a car I get very upset because other people are also driving around town in a car.

    • jhayes362

      I’m sure Uber and Lyft are part of SF’s traffic problem, but so is the SFMTA. The agency is so anti-car it is deliberately engineering congestion in some areas and hindering traffic flow. Ceasar Chavez is a good example. When this is done it shifts traffic to otherwise calm residential side streets. This adds to the anger people are feeling about traffic in SF.

      • Geek__Girl

        There is truth in what you say. The recent changes on Van Ness, for example, has resulted in numerous people turning right on Eddy, and the immediately making a u-turn and heading across Van Ness. They can no longer turn left, period, so they are doing something that, at least to me, seems rather dangerous.

  • Porfirio666

    Senior citizens living in the Sunset love Uber. Now they can actually call/hail a cab. Parents of teenagers love Uber, too. Now the kiddies can get a lift home late at night. No one has fond memories of taxi fleets in San Francisco. Supply was always way below demand in a rigged system under which medallions changed hands for $250K.

    • Ragazzu

      “Parents of teenagers love Uber, too.” Really? Rampant insurance fraud and no FBI background checks for drivers? I guess parents aren’t very informed:
      http://www.whosdrivingyou.org/rideshare-incidents

      • Porfirio666

        I’m think of my own daughter, Raguz. She’s at friends’ houses at 11PM all over SF. In pre-Uber days, I’d have to worry about how the hell she’d get home. No more. I guess you don’t have children.

        • Geek__Girl

          I guess you don’t care if you daughter is riding with some guy who wasn’t properly vetted. Uber has felons, and even registered sex offenders driving.

          • Porfirio666

            Uber has felons and so do taxi fleet operators/driver. Life is full of risks that you have to accept in order to keep on living.

          • Geek__Girl

            Nope. The only way a felon could become a taxi driver is to change his fingerprints, which, of course, is impossible. Uber has steadily refused to use fingerprints for screening. This, of course, helps them boost the number of people who can qualify as suckers, or as they would refer to them, drivers. Uber has been found, by the SF District Attorney, to have hired a number of felons who escaped detection, while claiming that their screening process was “industry standard” and first rate. (Hint: They lied, which they do a lot.) Those felons included some on the sex offender registry. Uber does not care about passenger safety. They can about squeezing every last minuscule drop of profit out. Not that they are close to actually making a profit. Taxi drivers are screened by fingerprints. Uber’s background checks are easily defeated by simple fraud…which would probably be another felony. Creating a false identity is relatively simple. It happens a LOT.

          • Geek__Girl

            ROTFL! Well, desperation makes you say dumb things you will regret. No, Uber has convicted felons, who were convicted felons at the time they were hired. Taxi companies could ONLY have such a driver if that person was able to change their fingerprints, which is impossible. Taxi drivers have to be screened by fingerprints. A simple, and standard procedure that insures that one does not slip through the cracks by engaging in fraud. Uber refuses to use fingerprint checks, making up silly excuses that have NO merit.

    • Geek__Girl

      Oh cut the crap. This sort of BS has been spewed by Uber every time they screw up. I have plenty of fond memories. First off, a lot of people were ignorant of how taxis operate. I used to be amused by the people who would stand along Market, frantically waving at cabs with the light indicating that they had a passenger. Oh, but Uber doesn’t have that problem. You can’t just hail one. You have to do the app thing, which is an option with REAL cabs, or you can quickly flag one. And all of that is past. Gone and forgotten.

      • Porfirio666

        Summary: You liked taxis under the old system because they had flashing lights indicating when they were already occupied.

        • Geek__Girl

          Uh, no. The summary would be that you are an idiot who cannot comprehend simple English. I mean seriously….

          Cabs have a light, which, when on, indicates that the cab is available. If off, the cab is either occupied, or out of service. Where you get “old service” is another mystery. I did not say that “I liked cabs” because of this, just that I quickly figured it out. Simple really. You see a cab, it has a light on, you signal, it stops. You see a cab, it doesn’t have a light on, you signal, and it keeps going, and as it passes you, you notice it has a passenger. Maybe, if you are a bit more of a thinker, you realize that the cab does not stop and the driver does not drag the passenger out to let you in. Or, you are a future Uber cult member, and you just can’t understand why they don’t stop, drag the passenger out, and then bow as you enter.

          Seriously…you are not as clever as you think. Actually, you are not clever at all.

          • Porfirio666

            Summary: The Geek schools a three-decade cab rider (me) on what blinking lights on cabs mean. Next: The Geek explains why one should eat soup with a spoon instead of a fork.

          • Geek__Girl

            The only blinking lights on cabs are the hazard lights that are on EVERY car. The lights on top would only blink if there was a problem with the wiring.

          • Porfirio666

            The Geek knows her automobile lights verily so. Y el Uber revolucion continua.

          • Geek__Girl

            Yes, it is spiraling into the ground….I guess you could call that a “revolution.”

          • Porfirio666

            Even if you reactionaries win, the Uber revolution will benefit the consumer, by making the taxi-fleet operators listen to the consumer.

  • JustJake

    Tim’s knee-jerk solution to virtually every problem: Tax someone.

    The breadth of his thinking amazes…

    • Clungeflaps

      Uber claims to be worth 70 billion dollars, so they can afford it. They should be paying anyway for all the wear and tear their drivers inflict on the roads here. Uber subsidizes 60% of the passenger’s fare (so all of you people praising Uber for how cheap they are, you are all just freeloading), they can use that money to repair the damage they’ve caused instead.

      • spencer_e9876

        Uber can definitely afford it, and even people who enjoy using their services cannot credibly claim that there are no negative externalities stemming from all those Ubers (and Lyfts). Historically the most efficient way to deal with those kinds of externalities is with a Pigouvian tax.

        • 4th Gen SF

          But the DRIVERS who are self-employed need the money, and taxing Uber/Lyft will harm the poor who are almost homeless and drive to survive.

          Like THIS lady

          For Brittney Barber, getting ready for work means assembling several casseroles for her extended family — husband, son, nephew and mother-in-law — packing an overnight bag, and loading up her gray Honda Fit for the 3½-hour drive from her home in Clovis (Fresno County) to San Francisco.

          After that 190-mile commute, it’s time to get to work — driving.

          Barber, 35, drives for Lyft and Uber. She comes to the city most weeks to put in three or four long days behind the wheel, spending nights at a friend’s house in Half Moon Bay. Working 12 to 16 hours a day, she can pull in up to $1,700 after Lyft and Uber take their cuts, but before deducting for gas and other expenses. That’s 70 percent more than what her homebody husband, Tom, 41, makes driving for the services back in Fresno.

          Taxes hurt the poor. Period. And the middle classes.

          • Geek__Girl

            Uber is exploiting the poor. And, again, they are cheating their drivers, and their passengers. And what is the source of the article you are quoting. You provide no citation. The article you cited earlier is based on a study COMMISSIONED BY UBER. Do you think it said ANYTHING that Uber didn’t want it to say?

      • 4th Gen SF

        No, what happens is, Uber will pay less to their drivers who actually NEED the money. That is why some ppl live in Sacto & drive here in SF, they NEED the money. Taxes on Uber will tax the poor who drive for Uber/Lyft.

        • MKR

          Do you really want to support a company that designs a software program to cheat both their employees and passengers into paying more than they should?http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uber-drivers-lawsuit-20170429-story.html

          • 4th Gen SF

            Can’t read the article bc I’m at the limit of free articles on the LAT.

          • MKR

            Ok here is a brief summary: Uber cheats their passengers and tries to set it up so the passengers can’t sue, and uber screws its drivers and doesn’t pay them as much as the should. Great company.

          • 4th Gen SF

            Is there another article so I can read the facts? TY

          • MKR

            Just do an internet search on Uber lawsuits and you can read an encyclopedia the company is hated all over the world.
            I would not do business with a company which expects me to sign a paper releasing them from any liability before the service is even provided.

          • Geek__Girl

            My, but you are doing a rather amusing job of trying to avoid the truth. Again, Uber was simply manipulating their rates so drivers are underpaid, and customers are overcharged. Respond to that, or admit you can’t.

          • Dirty Burrito

            Open the link in an incognito/private window and you can view it.

            On a PC: right click then choose “open in an incognito window.”

            On a mac: ctrl + mouse button, then select “Open Link In New Private Tab”

          • Geek__Girl

            Bottom line, Uber has manipulated its software so passengers are charged at a higher rate, and drivers are paid based on a lower rate. Just one of their long list of sleazy tricks. And one that they should be prosecuted for.

          • Geek__Girl

            Hell NO!

        • Geek__Girl

          Of course, Uber is cheating the drivers already. Uber should be paying taxes on the money it is charging those drivers for using their app.

      • Dirty Burrito

        The point of the tax is to reduce traffic, and the only way that will happen is if the cost is passed on to customers, which it will be. The $70B valuation has nothing to do with it.

        Again, why just tax Uber drivers? If you’re going to tax driving in SF, it should be a congestion tax so to encourage driving at off peak times, and it should apply to everyone.

        • Geek__Girl

          Because the Uber drivers, and to a lesser extent, Lyft drivers, are the cause of the congestion.

          • Dirty Burrito

            So you’re driving in your car, in traffic, but you’re not part of the traffic?

            I think what you’re trying to say is before uber and lyft there was less traffic and now there’s more. Additionally, maybe you feel like you have more of a right to be on the road?

            Why not get rid of private cars instead? They spend a lot of time circling around for parking spaces clogging up the road, and they take up valuable urban space when they’re not in use. An Uber driver might pick up dozens of fares per day so that’s dozens of cars that could be taken off the street. We could use that space for bike lanes, trains, cafe seating, etc.

          • Geek__Girl

            I don’t have a car. I am impacted by traffic when I need to be somewhere and Muni gets bogged down because of hundreds of Ubers all running around hoping for a passenger. And your claim that Uber means dozens of cars off the road is bogus. In the past, most of those people would have taken public transit. Uber tries to sell the idea that it is more of a status symbol than taking a bus. So, that is a LOT more cars on the road, blocking bike lanes, trains, cafe seating….

          • Dirty Burrito

            “And your claim that Uber means dozens of cars off the road is bogus.”

            I’m just pointing out Uber vehicles do not need to consume parking in the city. Yes, right now that is 100+% offset by more trips being made total.

            We have 280,000 street parking spaces in San Francisco. That’s 1100 acres, or the equivalent of 1000 football fields. Do you really think parked cars are the best use for that space? Don’t you think we could better meet our transit needs by doing something else with that space?

          • Geek__Girl

            Uber and Lyft drivers park quite often. Unlike cabs, they are not allowed to pick up passengers except through their apps. Now, this creates a real issue. First off, an Uber or Lyft driver is uninsured when cruising around with the app on, as they are involved in commercial operation, but are not covered by the company policy, which only takes effect if they have a passenger in the car. So, if they are smart (unlikely if they are stupid enough to drive for one of these companies) they park, so they are not at risk, and not burning gas, If they are not, they are cruising around, focused on the app, looking for a fare, and creating a hazard very much akin to driving under the influence.

          • Dirty Burrito

            It’s still less parking consumed per trip. If one Uber vehicle replaces 15-20 privately owned cars, that’s parking for one one side of the street for a whole block. That parking could be another lane of traffic for a whole city block, allowing a dedicated track for a MUNI tram in the middle of the street.

            Does Uber create more externalities than a privately owned car on a per trip basis? Especially when you consider the alternative uses for the parking spaces needed to store all those privately owned vehicles on public land? Hard to say.

            Regarding safety, can you provide evidence that Uber drivers are less safe than other drivers? Other than anecdotes? Here’s a 2006 study showing taxi drivers in NYC compare favorably with other drivers safetywise, despite having a bad reputation. It’s not Uber, so feel free to find the data that shows Uber drivers are more dangerous than an NYC cab driver.

          • Geek__Girl

            Let’s cut the crap. Parking is not a major issue. And your claim that parking could be used as traffic lanes is laughable. People who drive have to park. People are always going to drive rather than just ride in Uber, taxis, and buses. Off street parking is a partial solution, but not a complete one. Unless you want to do away with businesses, parking is a necessity. And no, Uber is not going to have a significant impact on the number of privately owned cars. Seriously, is this something Uber dreams of? That only Uber drivers will own cars? Or more absurdly, only Uber self-driving cars will exist, constantly in circulation, awaiting a request for a ride? Granted, Kalanik does seem to be a bit insane.

            The issue is congestion caused by a ridiculous number of impaired drivers with their eyes glued to a phone looking for a fare.

            Well, besides the 23 deaths attributed to Uber, and an unknown number of accidents involving them, Uber has been charged with failure to properly deal with intoxicated drivers reported to them. If you call a taxi company and report that a driver is under the influence, he is immediately suspended from driving until he is cleared. Uber…they most often ignore the report. After all, a drunk Uber is still one that is making money. And every penny counts. The funny thing is, Uber can instantly stop that driver from possibly endangering others. A taxi company has to contact the driver, tell him to pull over, and wait for a supervisor. Taxis have a zero tolerance policy. Uber has “so what” policy. And NYC cab drivers, like cab drivers everywhere, have to be alert, and watch for flags. Uber drivers have to be focused on their app.

          • Dirty Burrito

            Again, you give anecdotal evidence regarding the safety of Uber. 23 deaths is not meaningful when you consider that many people die in traffic accidents EVERY 5 HOURS in the US.

            Safety hazards and congestion are unrelated externalities, don’t confuse them.

            “Unless you want to do away with businesses, parking is a necessity.”

            I wonder how businesses survived before we had cars? Maybe that could be a History channel topic, along with how the pyramids were built, with Geraldo Riviera investigating these seemingly intractable problems.

            Tokyo has half as many cars per household as SF, but more than double the number of restaurants per capita. Fun fact: when you allow mixed use neighborhoods, people don’t have to drive from their residential neighborhood to a non-residential neighborhood to go shopping.

            ” And your claim that parking could be used as traffic lanes is laughable.”

            I guess you’re right, it’s physically impossible.

            “People are always going to drive rather than just ride in Uber, taxis, and buses.”

            This is dependent on policy.

            “And no, Uber is not going to have a significant impact on the number of privately owned cars.”

            Right, the number of privately owned cars is dependent on parking and policy in a place like SF, not Uber.

            “Or more absurdly, only Uber self-driving cars will exist, constantly in circulation, awaiting a request for a ride? ”

            You laugh, but this is probably inevitable. Hopefully all the cars won’t be owned by one company.

          • Geek__Girl

            Well, any meaningful comparison would require comparing deaths per mile driven, and no one seems to have those figures. About all I could find were a couple of articles citing the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think think, so that would be worthless. Sort of basing one’s evaluation of Donald Trump on what the Tea Party thinks of him.

            Now, lets move on. You have some of the silliest stuff here.

            You say, “I wonder how businesses survived before we had cars? Maybe that could be a History channel topic, along with how the pyramids were built, with Geraldo Riviera investigating these seemingly intractable problems.”

            Seriously? Do I really need to talk about things like horses, wagons, and the fact that in many cases, people lived very near to the places they shopped, if they lived in urban areas, and that if they lived in a rural area they relied on deliveries from companies like Wells Fargo. Making absurd statements only shows your desperation.

            “Tokyo has half as many cars per household as SF, but more than double the number of restaurants per capita. Fun fact: when you allow mixed use neighborhoods, people don’t have to drive from their residential neighborhood to a non-residential neighborhood to go shopping.”

            A meaningless argument. Tokyo also has high mass transit use, to the point that they actually have people who shove passengers into the subway cars to make them all fit.

            And in response to my saying, ” And your claim that parking could be used as traffic lanes is laughable.” You respond, “I guess you’re right, it’s physically impossible.” Seriously? You suggested that parking space should be eliminated to create another lane for traffic. That is laughable. Why bother, no one would drive there if they would not be able to park. As I said, LAUGHABLE!!!!

            And then we have your response to “People are always going to drive rather than just ride in Uber, taxis, and buses.”

            “This is dependent on policy.”

            Apparently, you have Uber FlavorAde delivered by the tanker truck load. That MIGHT be Uber’s fantasy, but if so, they are not only corrupt, they are insane. Policy depends on the voice of the voters. I realize that Kalanik is a adherent of far right politics, but unless there is a massive overthrow of our system of government, that is a pipe dream. The voters would never accept such silliness.

            And finally, you come out with “You laugh, but this is probably inevitable. Hopefully all the cars won’t be owned by one company.”

            The simple fact is, a significant number, probably a majority, of drivers are not going to give up control of their vehicle to a computer. Some might, but many people enjoy driving, and the feeling of being in control.

          • SF Sunset Guy

            I I I need…me me

          • SF Sunset Guy

            sole cause?

          • Geek__Girl

            That depends on one’s point of view. Clearly, if we banned ride shares, it would reduce the congestion significantly. Would it eliminate it? That is impossible to say. It might, but it also might not. But it would clearly reduce it.

      • Geek__Girl

        The key word is “claims.” Or, more to the point, “lies about being.” Uber is not making a profit, and is actually losing money like crazy. They can’t do an IPO, so in truth, they aren’t worth much at all. If the VC cut them off, and they will soon, they will be worth whatever they can be sold for in liquidation. Of course, that means you can pick up some overpriced fixtures and office furniture at a bargain….

      • SF Sunset Guy

        “Uber claims to be worth 70 billion dollars, so they can afford it. They should be paying anyway for all the wear and tear their drivers inflict on the roads here.”

        that is not the way the roads get worn out. It’s weight, like 18 wheelers and heavy trucks and buses that do that.

    • 4th Gen SF

      That’s exactly why I’m NOT a Democrat & I’m fully sick of the Democrats who run this town & our state.

      • Geek__Girl

        Well, that does explain your dogged defense of Uber, a company built on the worst of Republican values.

  • Beardedmessengerbag

    If it quakes like duck and it walks(drives) like a duck looking at a cell phone….then it is a duck driving while looking at a cell phone….then tax tax tax away…if everyone argues Uber will only take this out on its drivers and they have an issue with that…then do not support Uber.

  • Clungeflaps

    Uber is a trashy thing, for trashy people (who seem to think using sharing economy apps makes them look upwardly mobile, newsflash, it makes you look one step out of the trailer park). All Uber is, is hitchhiking via app. Gross.

    Its a shame San Francisco has a metro system on par with a Central Asian shantytown, for a city that claims to be one of the wealthiest on earth, it is an absolute embarrassment. For some reason, Americans seem to think that subways and high speed rail = Red Scare Communism, and cars and eyesore freeways = limitless freedom.

    • 4th Gen SF

      Have you taken Uber or Lyft?

      • Clungeflaps

        I don’t hitchhike, and I only use products that are regulated and licensed (it’s not the 19th century anymore, last time I checked)……..so in short, no, I certainly haven’t.

        • chris12bb

          What a strange world view you hold

          • Clungeflaps

            It’s called living in a first world country.

          • playland

            It’s called living in a first world country in 1996.

          • Clungeflaps

            LOL, oh yes, Uber and Lyft invented the jitney car in 2011. How futuristic. It’s not like jitneys were a thing in the 1910s (which were eventually banned due all the drivers being sketchy af).

            I find it hilarious how all of these startups take a service, put it in app form, and bamboozle everyone into thinking that they’ve invented a brand new thing.

          • playland

            Actually, it is a brand new thing.

            You contact a ride service without having to describe your location. You have a much better chance of being picked up within a reasonable time frame. There is no danger of someone stealing your ride. There is no cash involved. The driver knows that you can leave a rating on his/her performance as well as the car’s cleanliness. Some people feel more secure because there is documentation of who picked you up, when, where, and what the intended destination was.

            That’s not a new thing?

          • Geek__Girl

            Adding a bit of a “high tech” gloss to something is not really new. First off, as pointed out, “gypsy cabs” and “jitneys” have been around a very long time. I remember back in the 1990s there was some talk of legalizing them temporarily in Birmingham, AL because some of the soccer preliminaries for the Atlanta Olympics would be held there. They decided against it.

            And sorry to burst your bubble, but cabs have been required to keep a log of passengers for a very long time. Granted, they didn’t gather the sort of information that Uber and Lyft do, and then uses to try to make money by selling it. And anyone who feels secure taking Uber or Lyft is a sucker. Neither company screens their drivers properly, and that has resulted in a rather long list of criminal incidents. Now, go ahead and bring up that rape from almost 20 years ago. And compare that the number of incidents involving just Uber. No, I have never taken Uber or Lyft, and never will.

            And no, they are not new. Just underhanded, and sleazy.

          • 4th Gen SF

            What was wrong with jitneys? They were at Safeway & charged you $20 (at the time) to get home. Today Uber is cheaper TBQH.

          • Geek__Girl

            Well, they were unregulated, kept no records, and were more than a bit shady in some cases. Of course, for someone who is a classic Libertarian, they probably seemed great. BTW, I have never paid $20 to get home from Safeway in a cab.

          • Geek__Girl

            Again, it is called no giving money to criminals.

          • Geek__Girl

            No, not strange at all. Let me put it in different terms…I don’t employ the services of criminal operations. I don’t buy merchandise from shady people selling it on street corners, I don’t buy bootleg videos, and I don’t use Uber or Lyft.

        • 4th Gen SF

          I admire you putting your opinion out there when you haven’t a clue what you’re opining about.

          • Geek__Girl

            And I am amused by your lack of arguments, resulting in falling back on ad hominem attacks. Truth be told, he has pummeled you quite well.

        • Charlain

          Okay. If you pay, by definition it is not hitchhiking. In any event, before Uber, people took cabs–there were thousands more of them than you see today. Muni was still shitty, and those that could avoid it did so by driving or taking a cab.

          Muni’s budget is constantly bolstered and voters pass initiative after initiative to improve Muni and yet it stays the same.

          • Geek__Girl

            ROTFL! Nope, 1,800 cabs then, 1,800 cabs now. BTW, that is a classic lie told by Uber shills. There were NEVER thousands of cabs in San Francisco. Muni is a public transit system. In 2002, it was a lot better. Granted, I have been told I first rode it at just the right time. Muni has always been somewhat variable. If you are taking certain lines, the buses are decrepit. Other lines have brand new buses. The 38 Geary runs like clockwork. Never much of a wait between buses. Some lines, you miss the bus and it will be 30 minutes to a hour until the next.

            And, as I have already pointed out, Uber originally tried to pretend to be sort of like hitchhiking to get around the law…at least until they could buy off lawmakers.

    • Geek__Girl

      You know, the worst part is, there are a lot of places that have far worse transit than San Francisco. I am originally from Birmingham, AL. I grew up in the suburbs, and as a little girl, I would regularly go into town with my mother by bus. There was a local bus service, which would pick us up at the end of our street, and take us to where we could pick up a city bus to go shopping, see a movie, etc. At the time, we had one car, and my father was in a car pool, so about one out of every three weeks, he had the car. Eventually, the local bus service went away. The man who drove the bus (a repurposed school bus) retired, and we got a second car. For a while, during the Seventies, I didn’t have a car of my own, and when I couldn’t borrow one from my parents, my mother would drive me into catch a bus to get to work. By then, the bus service had become a nightmare. Many places were no longer served. Getting pretty much anywhere that was served required taking a bus to a specific location, and then catching another bus to where you wanted to go, even if it was not that far from where you started. When I came to San Francisco, I thought the bus service here was incredible. 15 years, and numerous cutbacks in service, and it is not so great. And in some cases, it is just plain cruel. Older, or disabled people often cannot walk a long distance to get to a bus stop. And if it is in a relatively hilly area, even a short distance uphill can be a problem. Removing stops like they have on Van Ness is criminal.

  • Brian T

    Wow. Tim never met a tax he didn’t like – even a regressive one like this. Uber will pass the tax on to riders. Sales taxes like this are regressive.

    Effort would be mush better spent figuring out how to make Muni suck less than trying to make Uber suck more.

    “Muni. Slightly faster than walking, but less dependable.”

    • Geek__Girl

      I don’t think one could possibly make Uber suck more than it already does.

  • Christina

    Uber should be held to the same regulations and taxes as other taxis, it’s only fair. I can’t fathom why people still use Uber, It’s unsafe. I use the taxi app E-HAIL (www.goehail.com) same convenience but trusted drivers.

    • 4th Gen SF

      Is this your app? On your disqus page you are advertising this app on every post. 🤔

      Not even sure you live in SF

    • Ragazzu

      But virtually every cab in SF is on the Flywheel app. Why use that one?

  • voltairesmistress

    Whenever I’m stuck in a car in traffic, I try to remember that I AM the traffic. And before we blame Uber/Lyft or talk of taxing them, just remember that something like 75% of all their riders are using the economical carpooling function, so that drivers are picking up multiple riders going roughly in same direction. All these riders might have driven their own cars, taking parking spaces in neighborhoods beyond their own all over the city. Between the freeing up of parking, the reduction in private car use or ownership, and the enviromental benefits of carpooling, Uber and Lyft improve quality of life for many people. Yes, there is a big problem with double parking and congestion, but let’s address those problems by taxing all drivers or levying a congestion charge on all users. And let’s change to a system of letting everyone drop off/pick up passengers by stopping across private driveways for a few seconds. That would be a much safer practice than the rampant double parking.

    • 4th Gen SF

      TBF as long as I’ve been alive in SF, there’s always been double parking. Again, that might harm poor people if we did that.

      • Geek__Girl

        Your concern for poor people is hilarious, as you usually seem to want to run them out of town on a rail.

    • Ragazzu

      “All these riders might have driven their own cars…”

      No, they’d probably have taken Muni. You make it sound like there aren’t thousands of Ubers and Lyfts driving around empty at any moment.

      • Geek__Girl

        Of course they would have taken Muni. One of the ploys Uber and Lyft push is the idea that it is a status symbol not to be riding with the great unwashed masses. What a joke.

    • Dirty Burrito

      Well said.

  • 衣皇后:

    百万张美女套图,上万部美女视频,一键转存,打包下载:

    http://www.wen.yihuanghou.com/

    衣皇后,等你来!

  • MKR

    Uber has so many government agencies investigating/suing them and so many class action lawsuits pending they may not even exist as a viable commercial entity. They use a sophisticated software program to cheat both the drivers and the passengers into thinking they are driving more miles than they are. They also make passengers sign a liability waiver with their app which states that they can’t sue Uber under any circumstances including death or dismemberment of the passenger. And they try to cheat their employees by classifying them as private contractors not employees. Ask yourself, do you really want to support a company like this?
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uber-drivers-lawsuit-20170429-story.html
    Think about it: We have gone from a business motto in society which implies that the customer is always right to a business motto which says “any customer who is enough of a sucker to trust us gets what they deserve: SCREWED” And by the way while we are at it we will screw our employees only they can’t sue us because they are not really employees. Wow the ethical standards of the business leaders in Uber are off the charts…

  • MKR

    Does anyone really think that a city like San Francisco with its cobbled streets and old Victorian mansions could support a quadrupling of traffic and cars on the streets without running into problems? A little urban planning might go a long way in terms of restricting car traffic. Rome has a similar problem and they deal with it by restricting vehicles in certain areas. Other cities have expanded their roads and build additional traffic lanes.

    • 4th Gen SF

      SF doesn’t have cobbled streets.

      • MKR

        Ok I was mistaken and I apologize. But the point is the same and its true in most American cities. They need long term urban planning to accommodate a doubling or quadrupling of vehicles

        • 4th Gen SF

          Do you even live in SF??

          • Clungeflaps

            A better question would be, are you a paid shill for Uber? You certainly act like it, and Uber are known to pay people to post breathlessly effervescent posts like yours online.

          • 4th Gen SF

            Answer: Nope.
            2. I’ve been here for years, from the beginning of this website.

        • SF Sunset Guy

          That boat has sailed…Muni has not improved since SF was declared “transit first” in 1970. We should start there, no?

  • Charleen Hill

    Uber driver killed child in crosswalk in
    SF . Don’t forget and this shit show traffic jams happen in every city they invade

    • Dirty Burrito

      Yes, only Uber kills pedestrians.

      • Charleen Hill

        Never stated it was just Uber that kills pedestrians! There are high risk and distractions involved in being a public transportation! Uber seem to not care about these risks. The avoid any liabilities. The have shown they care nothing about the public or customers safety . The states allowing them to avoid laws and regulations are just as guilty of avoiding responsibility. Everyone thinks it’s great until something bad happens . Users could care less about the risk until the ride goes bad the they want to cry foul. Uber/lyft are not about allowing people to earn money . They are all about them earning money and the driver carrying all cost and responsibility while making a few bucks

        • Dirty Burrito

          Whether or not Uber/lyft pay a living wage is unrelated to the safety/traffic issue. Not saying that’s not an issue.

          How do you get around? Bicycle? Walk? Public transit? Car?

          If you drive a car, do you feel like you have more of a right to be on the road than someone else taking an Uber or lyft? If so, why?

  • Charlain

    If you want to argue about labor issues related to Uber, fine, but how does someone with “lots of disposable income” taking Uber/Lyft instead of Muni add to congestion anymore than someone with “lots of disposable income” taking a cab? People with money who use Uber/Lyft would not suddenly start taking Muni, if Uber/Lyft were gone–they would simply do what they did before, which is either take a taxi or drive their own car.

    • Geek__Girl

      Cabs are limited in number. This is called “regulation.” It prevents various problems, like congestions. Uber ignores regulation. They came up with a silly claim that because they were “ride sharing,” which originally meant that someone could simply tell the driver, “Thanks for the ride, have a nice day, and not pay,” to get around the laws against gypsy cabs. It is illegal to operate a taxi without a medallion. There is a set number of cabs allowed, Uber has something like 47,000 drivers competing. There are 1,800 cabs. People who use Uber probably don’t have cars of their own in many cases. San Francisco is much like New York, where car ownership is not really necessary, or particularly desirable. Unless your residence includes off street parking, it is a major problem to own a car. In addition to the cost of the car, you have insurance, high gas prices, maintenance, the absurd cost of a parking ticket, and other considerations (theft is not a minor one) that make it questionable why one would want a car. Renting a car is much cheaper on the occasion where one actually needs one. I wound up with a car during 2015. I had lived here for years without one, but I decided, what the heck, it might be nice to have one so I could go places that I haven’t been able to easily reach. After about five months, I said “Forget it!” I accumulated a frightening number of parking tickets, had my car broken into several times, and found traffic to be a nightmare.

  • SnapsMcKenzie

    You can make a u-turn anywhere in California except where there’s a sign expressly prohibiting making a u-turn. It’s 100% legal to make a u-turn on Valencia or Mission or any other street, if you can manage it.

    • Ragazzu

      That would be illegal in California on any blocks that are business districts, which define most of Mission and all of Valencia. I’m surprised you haven’t learned this the hard way yet. See:
      “https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/turns

      • Geek__Girl

        Good call!:
        U-turns are prohibited:
        In business districts. Areas with churches, apartments, multifamily housing units, and public buildings (except schools) are also considered to be business districts. Turn only at an intersection, unless a sign prohibits it, or where openings are provided for turns.

        Hmmm, that seem to cover quite a bit of San Francisco. And notice it says, “Turn only at an intersection, unless a sign prohibits it, or where openings are provided for turns.” That means don’t, for example, turn onto a street, and do a u-turn immediately in the middle of the block because you can’t make a left hand turn.

  • Dirty Burrito

    What’s dumber than a regressive tax? How about a regressive tax that is applied arbitrarily?

    Why not tax all vehicles driving in San Francisco, not just UBER? Or have a congestion charge, like in London?

    I live in Oakland, but when I go to San Francisco I take public transit and I walk.

    • Geek__Girl

      Because Uber is not just a major source of problems. They are the problem. They have created a lot of the congestion. Ever wonder why taxis were regulated? It was not to be mean, it was to prevent exactly what is happening with Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft don’t want to be regulated like taxis, and have to buy medallions…fine, charge them a fee for using public streets to operate their business.

      • Dirty Burrito

        The taxi medallion system was implemented to reduce competition between drivers during the great depression, not to reduce congestion.

        In the long term taxi drivers stayed impoverished, and the gains from the restricted supply of taxis went to the medallion owners.

        • Geek__Girl

          The taxi medallion system has served several purposes. And drivers who purchased medallions had a nest egg for their retirement. Uber and Lyft should have to do the same as cab companies, and have medallions. Instead, they have simply cheated.