Jeff Chiu/AP file photoThe California Public Utilities Commission recently approved stricter rules for rideshare businesses

Jeff Chiu/AP file photoThe California Public Utilities Commission recently approved stricter rules for rideshare businesses

Taxi association threatens suit over app-based ride services

Taxi drivers and owners angered by new state regulation of app-driven ride services could soon take legal action against their popular competitors.

At a private board meeting in Sacramento this morning, the Taxicab Paratransit Association of California will discuss filing a lawsuit against companies including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, according to board member Hansu Kim. Its legal fund is already $500,000 strong.

“The legal option has to be looked at since we are now faced with unfair competition,” said Kim, president of San Francisco-based DeSoto Cab, which has a 170-taxi fleet. “I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lawsuit, but it’s a question of when and how we’re going to go forth.”

The threat comes two weeks after the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously adopted rules requiring transportation networks to hold commercial liability insurance, perform criminal background checks and training programs for drivers, obtain licenses from the commission, institute a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol and drugs, and perform 19-point vehicle inspections.

Although requirements such as insurance were brought up to taxi industry standards, cabs remain disadvantaged, said association attorney Paul Marron.

“Political influence and infatuation with cellphone applications, a superficial analysis of the core public-safety and service issues, and a naive, excessive trust in the cellphone applications will decimate the livelihood of thousands of professional taxi drivers who play by the rules,” Marron said.

Lyft, Sidecar and Uber could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The state commission’s influential ruling came as a victory for such companies but irritated taxi drivers who complain that the companies are not held to fare, fleet size or green requirements. “Once the CPUC determined that these new businesses were not really ride-sharing services and in fact are venture capital-backed, commercial vehicles for hire for profit, they should have applied the same rules,” Kim said.

The commission’s ruling essentially deregulates the industry, Marron said, which could lead to 10,000 such vehicles and drivers traveling longer for less and less money.

“Many cities had what the CPUC did and they all came back to a regulated system because of the public safety and consumer rip-off issues that occurred when you had deregulation,” he said.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

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott leaves the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Brannan Street and Jack London Alley in the South Park area on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chief Scott issues rare apology to man shot by SF police

Officer says he ‘did not intend for his firearm to go off’

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Most Read