San Francisco investigating whether Uber, Lyft are public nuisances




  • In US
  • 2017-06-05 21:01:35Z
  • By By Heather Somerville
FILE PHOTO: A man exits the Uber offices in Queens, New York
FILE PHOTO: A man exits the Uber offices in Queens, New York  

By Heather Somerville

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco has issued subpoenas to Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and Lyft Inc for a broad scope of records on driving and business practices as part of an investigation to determine whether the ride-services companies have become a public nuisance.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said on Monday he was seeking records to investigate whether Uber and Lyft fail to adequately serve poor neighborhoods and the disabled and whether their drivers create hazards on the road.

Herrera said the subpoenas sought four years of records from the companies, which are based in San Francisco and have an estimated 45,000 total drivers in the city. The sweeping request includes hours and miles logged by drivers, driver incentives, traffic infractions and city zip codes visited by drivers.

"No one disputes the convenience of the ride-hailing industry, but that convenience evaporates when you're stuck in traffic behind a double-parked Uber or Lyft, or when you can't get a ride because the vehicle isn't accessible to someone with a disability or because the algorithm disfavors the neighborhood where you live," Herrera said.

The subpoena sets up San Francisco and Uber for yet another legal battle, as the two are already locked in a fight over the city's demands for drivers' names and addresses. Herrera sued Uber last month to compel the company to comply with the data request, which Uber has said is an invasion of driver privacy.

Investigating whether Uber and Lyft are a public nuisance in the city is an unusual approach for San Francisco. An influx of cars driving for the two companies often clog city streets and block bicycle lanes and double-park while they wait for passengers, according to the city.

Such concerns reflect how large the two companies have grown in their hometown.

A Lyft spokeswoman said that 30 percent of rides in San Francisco take place in underserved neighborhoods, and 20 percent begin or end at a public transit station, underscoring its collaboration with public transit agencies.

"Lyft has always been focused on improving transportation access for people across all cities in which we operate," said spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison.

Uber pointed to a report by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency which says it has the goal of making ride-sharing one of the "preferred means of travel" by 2018. Spokeswoman Eva Behrend said Uber is "more than happy to work with the city to address congestion," but that the city needs to also look at contributing factors such as construction and population growth.

Herrera added that the "long-distance" Uber and Lyft drivers who travel hours from the Central Valley and small communities elsewhere to find rides in San Francisco are a potential "threat" to public safety. They are on the road for such long shifts that they become drowsy, making the streets unsafe.

Herrera also requested four years' of documents and data submitted by Uber and Lyft to the California Public Utilities Commission, the state agency that regulates ride-services companies and collects much of the data the city is looking for.

The commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Uber settles lawsuit with woman who accused executives of obtaining medical records after she was raped
Uber settles lawsuit with woman who accused executives of obtaining medical records after she was raped

Uber has settled its lawsuit with a woman (Jane Doe) who accused its now-former CEO Travis Kalanick, president of business in Asia Eric Alexander and SVP of business Emil Michael of improperly obtaining her medical records after she was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India.

Major Injuries After Bus Overturns On San Francisco Highway
Major Injuries After Bus Overturns On San Francisco Highway

A charter bus carrying 29 people overturned Friday night on a San Francisco highway, causing major injuries and backing up traffic in the city for hours.

Uber agrees to settle US lawsuit filed by India rape victim
Uber agrees to settle US lawsuit filed by India rape victim

Uber Technologies Inc and a woman who accused top executives of improperly obtaining her medical records after a company driver raped her in India have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit the woman filed against Uber in June, according to a U.S. federal court filing on Friday. The Uber driver was convicted of the rape, which occurred in Delhi in 2014, in a criminal case in India. He was sentenced in 2015 to life in prison. The Indian woman had previously settled a civil U.S. lawsuit against Uber in 2015, but sued the company again in a San Francisco federal court saying that shortly after the incident, a U.S. Uber executive "met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained...

Trump Again Uses Kate Steinle
Trump Again Uses Kate Steinle's Death To Call For Stricter Immigration

At a campaign-style rally in Florida on Friday night, President Donald Trump once again used the death of Kate Steinle to argue for stricter immigration enforcement.

Uber
Uber's Road to IPO: Will It Live Up to the Hype?

By now, I think we all know what Uber is, what it does, and how it makes our lives easier. Launched only seven years ago, Uber Technologies Inc. is an app-based transportation company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It operates in about 270 cities and more than 60 countries worldwide, and as of this June, Uber completed 5 billion total trips.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.