Transportation Policy

San Francisco Airport Cracks Down on Ride-Providing Companies with Trespassing Charges

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The taxi cartels reach is far and making life worse for users of San Francisco Airport, CBS Local San Francisco reports:

In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said.

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to "various offenders" since July 10.

The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April…..

Yakel said the companies are not permitted to offer their services at SFO and they are now being arrested for unlawful trespassing.

The story goes on to report about how taxi cartel members are begging for more concerted city action to put their potential competitors out of business.

I blogged about L.A.'s so-far feckless alleged "crackdown" on the helpful service providers last week.

NEXT: State Court Agrees: Drink Up New Yorkers!

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  1. I’m sure the president will address this issue in his push for innovative job creation.

  2. I’ll say it for the second time today: Repeal the Wagner Act and convict these Organized Labor Mafioso and their corrupt government cronies under the RICO Act!

    1. Repeal the Wagner Act and convict these Organized Labor Mafioso and their corrupt government[.]

      1. I wonder just how many yards of hemp rope we’d need.

        1. Hemp rope is evil and illegal and the government should do something about your assertion….

          /Nylon Rope Makers Guild, local 197

    2. Then repeal the RICO Act.

  3. What happens when one of these unsanctioned transactions results in the loss of business to a knighted member of the transportation community? What then? For all we know it’s already happened.

  4. Seems a little late for a brickbat post.

  5. I was out there a few weeks ago and they had signs warning you about the dangerous, insidious, non-cartel hire cars about every 10 feet. It was fucking ridiculous.

    Returning to SFO, my hotel got me a limo off of Uber and bizarrely enough, the driver didn’t try to eat my family or drive us into the bay.

    1. Did you invite him to eat your brother, who’s much more appetizing and will be along shortly?

    2. Liar. You’re the Uber driver. You killed JW and now you’re impersonating him by wearing his skin as a suit. That’s what I’ve been told happens when you use these scary drivers who haven’t been given a government permission slip!

    3. Fuck those cartels. Uber rocks and it beats the hell out of any cartel-cab I’ve ever been in. They are on time, you can track ’em on your smartphone via their app, their drivers are polite and seemingly less retarded than your average cab driver, the cars are clean and comfortable. Total win.

      What a shame that technology and innovators are making our lives better by offering choice and competition. They must be stopped!

      1. If this doesn’t prove that government is almost completely inept at responding to technological advancement, I don’t know what does.

  6. It’s for the children, right?

  7. Anything unregulated is illegal. It says so right there in the Constitution.

  8. I’ve honestly considered becoming a “donation”-based cabbie. Is that the way around these bullshit regulations? Just use social networks to pick up all of your “friends” from the airport, who throw you a “few bucks for dinner or gas” since you picked them up when they would otherwise not have a ride.

    They would be paying less than they would to a cabbie, and I am just driving around, so only paying normal insurance rates. Obviously you run the risk of getting stiffed, but that could be the case with a number of jobs. If the service is good enough, [most] people will pay for it.

    1. “will drive for beer”

    2. To be honest, giving a friend a ride for any sort of remuneration (voluntary or otherwise) is probably illegal. At the very least it runs up against IRS regulations on gifting.

      1. Wouldn’t giving someone a ride without any sort of remuneration also have to comply with the IRS regs on gifting?

        1. I don’t think there’s a taxable gift issue either way. If you take money for gas that would be taxable income, and if your friend does a favor for you in exchange, the value of the drive/favor would be taxable income to the both of you.

      2. FYI, just to be a tax geek, if you’re talking about potential gift tax reporting, the gift tax/filing obligation (generally speaking, absent some alternative arrangement) would apply to the donor, not the donee. There’s also an annual exclusion of $14,000/year (for 2013).

        However, in terms of taxable income, I think the Lyft-type arrangements would tend to be required to issue a 1099 for income greater than around $500.

    3. There are services like that now (Lyft works more or less like this)! They work around the risk of getting stiffed by having both driver and passenger review each other. It’s actually a pretty cool example of natural, non-coercive community building in action. So of course the assholes want to squash it.

  9. How can the airport tell which car is sent by one of these services and which are just friends picking people up?

    1. I considered this, and wonder whether they made arrangements for pickup and arrested whomever showed up.

      1. Had to be a sting. Authoritarians love them some stings.

    2. They can’t, so the clear answer is to disallow personal pickups and make everyone take a cab or BART!

    3. How can the airport tell which car is sent by one of these services and which are just friends picking people up?

      At a guess? The drivers from the protected outfits are watching for any sign of competition. If I didn’t call in a poacher in my driving days and my boss found out about it there was hell to pay.

    4. One of them puts a pink mustache on the grill. I’m not sure why. Others may do the same.

  10. Out of curiosity, who paid for SFO and who owns it now?

      1. Which means that the taxi business that services it will be of the especially corrupt and protectionist sort. Back when I was driving the company I worked for had exclusive rights to the local airport. The only other people who could service the airport were limo companies, and that had to be arranged ahead of time. If you wanted to use a different company you had to walk off of the airport grounds first basically because the owner of the company I worked for had paid off all the correct public officials.

      2. Which means that the taxi business that services it will be of the especially corrupt and protectionist sort. Back when I was driving the company I worked for had exclusive rights to the local airport. The only other people who could service the airport were limo companies, and that had to be arranged ahead of time. If you wanted to use a different company you had to walk off of the airport grounds first basically because the owner of the company I worked for had paid off all the correct public officials.

        1. Skwrlz?

        2. That’s exactly how it worked in Bangkok’s old Don Mueang Airport and now Suvarnabhumi Airport.

          Nice to see we get the same service as in a corrupt 3rd-world country.

          1. It wasn’t that way back in the 70s and 80s. There were lots of options, though you couldn’t take a tuk-tuk there.

            I think the corrupt 3rd-world country have since learned a few tricks from the US politicians and bureaucrats.

            1. Interesting. I know that the Thai airport taxi racket is run by the Thai Royal Police, who gained a lot of influence during the Thaksin days, so maybe it’s an early 00’s development?

          2. That’s also exactly how it works at Detroit International Airport. Only authorized cabs and limos (run by the same company) are allowed to prowl. Anybody can drop off, and other limos are allowed to pick up if prearranged.

            Took the authorized cab (Metrocab) once. It was filthy, and so was the cabby.

            Since then I use a local limo company. I rarely use cabs in my home town, so I haven’t yet had a chance to try Uber or Lyft.

      3. I figured as much. “Public” They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

        1. It’s like the “democratic” in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

  11. The Taxi business is such a gaggle of corruption and protectionism. The laws and regulations that surround what is, in the end, the act of giving someone a lift in exchange for some money are mind-boggling in places. There is no economic activity that the government cannot bear to get cut in on, manipulate in favor of the principals doing the cutting and their buddies, and punish any who defy them and their graft machine.

  12. How about the City of Boston’s police department regulating cabbies and the taxi industry within the city’s limits?

    There can be no rule of law where the state regulates commerce.

  13. Travel to just about any airport or train station in Communist China, Communist Viet Nam, Communist Laos, or totalitarian states such as Saudi Arabia, and you’ll be greeted by a variety of independent, unregulated ground transportation services.

    Most are as good or better, and cheaper, than the “official” taxis, but not always though the crooks are pretty easy to detect. The new internet services eliminate much of the doubt. Too bad that the US is not an economically free country.

  14. Why can’t taxi cartels be prosecuted under the Sherman Anti-Trust act?

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