Important Info for Mayors at USCOM 2015

The following is a resolution by one of the US Conference of Mayors, Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin.

He is proposing that Taxicabs and similar passenger conveyance businesses/drivers/vehicles be subject to local regulation and law.  States and the Federal government do no have the local knowledge and understanding of a cities' transportation needs and issues better than lawmakers in those cities do.  Local lawmakers will always make more prudent decisions for their local constituency than a state or federal lawmaker will.  We strongly urge all US Mayors to support this resolution in for the good of your cities in the face of predatory and largely illegal businesses.  Really if you don't know how shady they are by now, you must really have your hands full with more pressing issues than traffic and pollution.   They should follow the law, law you make, not your State Legislatures or Utility Regulators.   A mayor usually knows whats best for their city, how they act on it determines how long they stick around.

For more reading on this topic head over to our White Paper on Local Regulation of TNCs.

Just in case you missed some of the Uber shenanigans, The ITF has provided a comprehensive list for you to get caught up here.  


UBER and LYFT: What’s the REAL price of the ride? 

Brazilians call it “paid hitchhiking”.  You hold out your electronic thumb, and a few minutes later (if they can find you), a vehicle appears and takes you on your way.  The cost seems reasonable (except when “surge pricing” is in effect). But the hidden and not-so-hidden costs of this form of transportation have yet to be fully understood.  Uber’s valuation – estimated currently at $50 billion – is built on many broken backs.  Like industries that dirty the waters and foul the air, or industries that employed children in the dawn of the 20th century, these companies’ profits go to their investors, while society as a whole pays the true costs of their operations. Here are some of the largest victims of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs): 

¨     The environment:  San Francisco now has had the greenest taxi fleet in the country, but those hard-won gains have been erased, and then some.  To the tune of nearly 2 million tons of Co2 a year.  Tens of thousands of TNC vehicles crowd the streets, bringing traffic to a crawl and polluting the air.  Certain streets are virtually impassable at busy times owing exclusively to this traffic.  There are no limits on TNC numbers, and practically none on vehicle type.  It’s no coincidence that San Francisco has become the second most congested city in the country during the TNCs recent tenure. 


¨     Ongoing and future environmental damage:  Independent analysis shows that TNCs and other on-demand drivers could be emitting as much as 2.1 million tons of Co2 annually in just San Francisco alone.  Causing more than 20x more pollution that the existing licensed taxi fleet.  If multiplied by every city they operate in, that number could be well over 250million tons of carbon per year. There are whole countries that pollute less than Uber does. Where is the CEQA study or Environmental Impact Report that’s mandated by law?

¨     The disabled community:  TNCs have an abysmal record of service (ok lets be honest.... nearly non existent) to the disabled.  Think guide dogs in the trunk and verbally berating the disabled. They don’t provide wheelchair-accessible service at all, or pretend do so.  Complaints about discrimination abound.  As a result, both Uber and Lyft are being sued for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

¨     Drivers of vehicles for hire (including TNC drivers):  Cab driving has opened a door of opportunity for many workers – in recent history it has been largely immigrants.  Most San Francisco taxi permits (medallions) are in drivers’ hands, not investors, giving them extra income and a stake in the industry after years on the job.  Proudly providing the public with an experienced and knowledgeable workforce.  Since TNCs began operations, driver income has fallen drastically.  Some 40 percent of San Francisco taxi drivers have seen their earnings fall below the minimum wage.  TNC drivers – who lack even the most basic job benefits and protections – have also seen their income decline (in fact even lower than cab drivers).  All drivers of vehicles for hire are hurting in this race to the bottom, whose only winners are The TNC companies themselves. 

ALL of us pay the price, except the customer, they get a cheap ride.  For now.  

Starting with the taxi drivers and ending with air quality.

TNC Co2 Emissions 2015-2020


We are in a drought here and in California we refine our own gasoline, a process that uses water.

It takes 8 gallons of water to refine one gallon of gas.... 

With that and daily car washes…. How many millions of gallons of water are we losing to Uber as well?

Try 3 million gallons of water a day.  In a drought.  1.2 BILLION GALLONS A YEAR.

Independent estimates have TNCs and App Services combined contributing over 2 million tons of Co2 to San Francisco Bay Area air, per day.

In just 5 years they will have contributed over 11 million tons of Co2 into our local air compared to the SF taxi industry's paltry 274 thousand tons in the same period.

In the next five years they will have contributed over 22 BILLION road miles to Bay Area traffic.  Hardly sustainable.

With Uber in over 200 cities world wide their GLOBAL CONTRIBUTION TO Co2 could be as high as 255 MILLION TONS of C02... There are small countries that pollute less.


 International Opposition by Cities and National Governments



This is a report done with taxi data by an analyst with the AFLCIO. 

The report outlines the dire consequences on driver incomes as a result of Uber and other TNCs entering, and saturating, a market without regulations and restrictions on vehicle numbers.  This is a draft only.  

Shannon Liss Riordan interviewed on Bloomberg about the recent California Labor Comission Ruling for an Uber driver and how that will affect her Federal class action lawsuit for alleged labor violations against Uber.  

Towards a Cost Estimate for an UberX Driver....  Author goes in depth looking at the true costs affecting drivers for UberX. While his conclusions focus on the NYC metro area, they can be readily applied to just about any metro area with minor adjustments.

Read it here.  Eye opening even for us. 

Here are some charts showing independent estimates of labor supply and earnings for drivers in San Francisco.





VIDEOS: worth a watch