La Quinta Resort & Club

La Quinta Resort & Club

Cab drivers hold noisy rally at City Hall to protest rideshare companies

With horns blaring, a long line of taxicabs circled San Francisco City Hall this afternoon, with cab drivers demanding that the city ban smartphone-enabled rideshare services.

As their colleagues circled the block, dozens of taxi drivers gathered on the steps of City Hall to call for the regulation of rideshare companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.

One of the rally's organizers, Barry Korengold, president of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, called the startup companies “unfair competition.”

He said, “legal cabs are getting screwed,” citing a large drop in taxi ridership since the companies began operating.

The taxi drivers are asking city officials and the California Public Utilities Commission to step in.

The CPUC, which regulates passenger carriers, has asked an administrative law judge to compile a report on rideshare companies.

In December, the commission tasked the judge with gathering information to “evaluate the safety of ridesharing businesses that utilize the Internet, social media, and location services to arrange transportation of passengers over public highways for compensation,” according to CPUC documents.

That report is expected to be released sometime this week, and then will be open to public comment for 30 days before the commission votes on any of the judge's recommendations.

Mark Gruberg, head of United Taxicab Workers, called for the CPUC “to put an end to these unlawful companies.”

“Come on, San Francisco,” he said. “Respect and enforce the law.”

Taxi drivers said they take issue with the term “rideshare” being applied to such companies. As defined by the CPUC, a rideshare involves a driver transporting passengers to a destination, usually work-related, without profiting from the ride.

Korengold said it is untrue that the drivers and companies don't profit from the interaction.

“Let's all play by the same rules,” he said.

Some protesters cited discrimination, with rideshare companies largely unable to pick up disabled and handicap passengers.

Taxi driver Ruah Graffis, sitting in a motorized wheelchair, said, “We'd like to support the real cab drivers of the city who pick up everybody.”

Another driver, Jeffrey Rosen, said taxi drivers are trained, regulated, and constantly inspected, all in the name of public safety. He called the ride services offer “rogue, bandit taxis with a smartphone and a Facebook account.”

Many protesters held signs bearing a photo of Mayor Ed Lee sporting a pink mustache, similar to those placed on the front of Lyft vehicles.

Other signs read “Stop taxi deregulation” and “Real drivers do it with insurance.”

After the noon City Hall rally, the long line of taxis headed to the CPUC building at McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue to continue the protest there.Bay Area NewsLyftRideshareTransittransportationUber

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read