Sidecar lands first deal for SFO operations

https://www.facebook.com/sidecr/photos_streamSidecar was granted a permit by San Francisco International Airport as part of an extended pilot program to study the impact on airport congestion.

https://www.facebook.com/sidecr/photos_streamSidecar was granted a permit by San Francisco International Airport as part of an extended pilot program to study the impact on airport congestion.

Sidecar, the mobile-app-based ride service often in the shadow of publicity surrounding Uber and Lyft, has become the first Transportation Network Company to be granted a permit to pick up and drop off customers at San Francisco International Airport, officials announced Tuesday.

The move is also a first for an airport in California.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Sidecar expects to begin – or “resume,” as co-founder and CEO Sunil Paul wrote in the company blog Tuesday – operations at SFO within 30 days.

The announcement comes as SFO continues permit discussions with Uber, Lyft and other Transportation Network Companies that have been illegally providing service at the airport.

“When regulators and innovators work together consumers win,” Paul wrote in the blog. “We commend SFO for their forward thinking, and for developing a framework that will allow Sidecar to provide safe and affordable transportation to people who live in and visit our city.”

SFO granted the permit to Sidecar as part of an extended pilot program to study the impact on airport congestion, Paul’s post said.

The taxi industry, which has struggled to survive amid competition from Transportation Network Companies, had a longtime stronghold over customers at the airport. Tuesday’s announcement could change that dynamic.

“I applaud Sidecar for taking the lead in their industry with the first authorized service at SFO,” Airport Director John Martin said in statement. “Their proactive approach sets an example for other transportation network companies to follow.”

Paul hailed the agreement, but said “there is still work to do.”

Specifically, shared rides, in which a Sidecar customer is matched with a nearby rider, which cuts the cost in half. They remain banned at SFO.

Paul wrote that the airport won’t allow shared rides until the matter is resolved with the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates Transportation Network Companies and considers that type of service illegal.

“The sharing economy was born here, and I am committed to ensuring that San Francisco supports this innovation sector’s growth and success,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend called the Sidecar deal “a win for the people who live and visit the Bay Area.”

“SFO is embracing the convenience, reliability, and seamless experience that the ridesharing industry offers travelers and it is clear that the countless hours we have spent working with airport officials on a solution has paid off,” she said in an email.

Lyft spokeswoman Katie Dally said in an email that the company continues to negotiate with SFO while making inroads outside of San Francisco, specifically “striking the first such deal in the nation at Nashville International Airport.”

SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said the permit that Sidecar received was also offered to Uber and Lyft.

“They all have been given the same opportunity,” he said.

Sidecar will be allowed to pick up and drop off on the upper level of the terminals, which is typically an area for dropoffs. There will also be a remote waiting area away from the terminals for drivers who are awaiting a fare.Bay Area NewsLyftSidecarTransittransportationUber

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

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

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

Most Read