(Richard Vogel/AP file photo)

Lyft agrees to let SF transit agencies review data

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and Lyft Inc. have reached an agreement that will increase the city’s ability to analyze data about the ride-booking company’s operations, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Wednesday.

The data analysis is part of a probe begun by Herrera’s office last year on whether Lyft and rival ride-booking company Uber are obeying state and local laws on access, discrimination, safety and pay.

Last year, Herrera issued subpoenas to the two companies for eight categories of information.

The new agreement concerns one of those categories, the annual reports that ride-booking companies must submit to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Lyft had agreed to give Herrera’s office those reports, but initially said that only lawyers from that office would be allowed to look at them.

Under the agreement, other professionals such as traffic safety experts can additionally review the information in order to consult with city lawyers on the reports.

“This is a reasonable agreement that preserves Lyft’s trade secrets while advancing our investigation into whether these companies violated the rights of ordinary San Franciscans,” Herrera said in a statement.

Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.”

“It’s always our desire to work with cities in which we operate and, after receiving sufficient assurances from the city attorney that the data will be kept confidential and secure, we have reached a resolution with the city attorney permitting limited sharing of the data within city government only,” she said.

The annual reports to the CPUC are required to include information on the number of people who request accessible vehicles and how often the company is able to comply; the number of rides requested and the number of requests accepted within each zip code served; drivers’ traffic violations and accidents; and the average number of miles and hours each driver worked per year.

In the probe, Herrera is looking into whether the two companies are violating laws banning public nuisances and obstruction of streets and those requiring equal accommodation of all customers.

Herrera has said he is also concerned about possible impact of incentives that may bring drivers who are fatigued and unfamiliar with the city from as far away as Fresno and Los Angeles.

The city attorney said Lyft has provided most of the information requested in the subpoenas and has agreed to work with the city on providing the rest, but Uber has not supplied most of the information sought.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered Uber to turn over the information, but Uber is now appealing that ruling, Herrera said.

-Julia Cheever, Bay City NewsCity Attorney Dennis HerreraCPUCLyftSan FranciscoTransitUber

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