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blog home Limo News Ride Share Companies Banned From Providing San Francisco Airport Transportation

Ride Share Companies Banned From Providing San Francisco Airport Transportation

By San Francisco Limousine Specialist on May 31, 2013

San Francisco International Airport officials recently issued cease-and-desist orders to six different smartphone application-based rideshare companies like Lyft, SideCar and UberX, ostensibly to protect the 44 million passengers who travel though SFO every year. We have blogged extensively about these rideshare services in recent months, as San Francisco and other major cities across the country try to determine whether or not to allow them to operate outside the rules and regulations imposed on limousine services, taxi companies and other passenger carriers.

The applications developed by rideshare companies allow regular drivers to connect with passengers through a smartphone app, bypassing traditional Bay Area airport transportation providers like our limousine service and taxicabs. In most cases, the rideshare driver is compensated via a donation through the application, rather than being paid by the passenger(s). SFO spokesman Doug Yakel pointed out that the ban on rideshare services is not about preventing new forms of Bay Area airport transportation.

“We’re very open to new business ideas and we would like to provide a way to provide those options, but we have an obligation to safety,” he said. “We also have to keep a level playing field and promote fairness.”

Yakel said that the airport’s primary concern is that passengers who need ground transportation receive a safe ride to and from the airport at a fair price.

One of the rideshare companies, SideCar, states on its website that it should not have to observe regulations like a limo or taxi company, as they are a “peer to peer ridesharing app,” not a traditional dispatch service that requires regulation. They say that they simply facilitate trips between private parties who happen to be traveling in the same direction.

Yakel acknowledged that while ridesharing and carpooling are legal, the rules are different when profit is part of the arrangement.

“The difference is money is being exchanged for transportation and the company is keeping some of the profits,” he said.

Essentially, Yakel is bringing up the very valid point that app-based rideshare companies’ claims that they’re just helping people find rides become disingenuous when a profit motive is part of the arrangement. Thus, he says, they should be regulated like taxis and Bay Area limousine services.

You may remember that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued cease-and-desist orders and fines to Lyft, Uber and SideCar to stop all operations back in November. Since then, the CPUC has allowed Lyft and SideCar to resume carrying passengers, but only after providing proof of insurance that will protect their passengers in the case of accident or injury. However, the CPUC admits that it is still working on how to regulate rideshare companies.

“We’re concerned for the safety of riders and everyone involved in these new operations,” said CPUC spokesperson Andrew Kotch. “We’re figuring out how rules might be revised to include these new transportation entities.”

While we are understandably concerned about how rideshare services will affect our San Francisco limousine service, we believe that ultimately, we appeal to a very different demographic. Our guests contact us for Bay Area airport transportation because they know they will enjoy a clean and very comfortable limousine operated by a professional and fully licensed and insured chauffeur. The folks who connect with drivers through rideshare services are subject to the randomness of the driver, the vehicle and the quality of experience. If you prefer professionalism to randomness and want comfortable and affordable airport transportation to SFO or any of the other Bay Area airports, call us at NLS Limo today at 1-800-339-8936 to reserve one of our San Francisco limos.

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