California Passenger Carriers Very Unhappy With CPUC Ruling on Ridesharing
San Francisco limousine services, black car services and other luxury transportation providers, as well as those outside the Bay Area, are very unhappy with a recent ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding what has been called “ridesharing.” The ruling allows private companies such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and others to operate outside the rules and regulations established for passenger carriers like us. These regulations, licensing requirements, insurance mandates and other rules are in place to ensure passenger safety and provide protection for passengers in the event of an accident.
You may remember that last October, the CPUC and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency issued a cease and desist order plus a $20,000 fine to Uber, Lyft and Sidecar due to lack of the aforementioned licensing, insurance coverage and other requirements. However, the CPUC changed course in December when it announced that it would evaluate the safety of these and other ridesharing services. Much to our dismay, the CPUC recently suspended complaints from legitimate passenger carriers (including our San Francisco limousine service) as it worked toward a resolution. In a move that we find reckless, disturbing and very irresponsible, the CPUC recently approved ridesharing, allowing drivers who have not earned a taxi driver’s or chauffeur’s license to transport passengers. This ruling legitimizes Lyft, Sidecar and other services and creates the opportunity for similar services to operate outside many of the requirements our Bay Area black car service must observe.
In their recent announcement, the CPUC reported that it will still require "continued proof of insurance, Department of Motor Vehicle checks and national criminal background checks," especially if the service uses "non-licensed charter party carriers." However, we feel very strongly that this sets a dangerous precedent, is definitely not in the best interests of passenger safety and creates a decidedly unfair advantage for ridesharing services over legitimate San Francisco limousine services like ours.
Ultimately, customers will have to decide the type of experience they prefer and the type of protections they are willing to invest in or go without. If a black car service customer wants the randomness, unprofessionalism and potential risks of dealing with one of these online ridesharing services, they can now make that choice. However, if they want to conduct business with an ethical, professional and locally-owned company like our San Francisco black car service, they can call us at 1-800-339-8936 to receive the protection, professionalism and level of customer service that they deserve.