Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Proposed Decision of CPUC Commissioner Michael R. Peevey

I think I've fallen behind a lot of people in that I'm just beginning to read the decision now. Thus, I'm in no position to make misleading comments on a subject I don't fully understand. In short, I'm not ABC or the Bay Citizen or the SF Weekly.

I can tell you that the item is targeted to appear on agenda 3321 for the Commission's Business Meeting on 9/5/2013 but it may appear later. A binding decision may be made then or later, and the Commission "may adopt all or part of it as written, amend or modify it, or set it aside or prepare its own decision."

We thus have until at September 5th to influence the final judgement. Best to read the document yourselves. Me being me, I'll probably be giving you my thoughts on this sooner than later.

CBS coverage at the Protest = halfway decent for a change.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We Say, "Down with Lyft": CPUC Say, "Down with Us"

San Francisco taxicab drivers held the biggest protest yesterday in the thirty years that I've been driving a cab. As a low estimate, 1,000 taxicabs circled City Hall. There may have been more. A crowd filled the steps. There were numerous brilliant speeches given by cab drivers, handicapped people, a taxi company owner and the head of a credit union.

At approximately the same time as the protest ended, I received this e-mail from the CPUC.
3:43 PM (5 hours ago)
to me
This email provides service of Cmmr Peevey's Proposed Decision. The full text is made available through the link provided below on July 30, 2013. A Notice of Availability has been served by mail to all persons on the service list.

Summary: Proposed Decision Decision adopting rules and regulations to protect public safety while allowing new entrants to the transportation industry. Opening comments, which shall not exceed 15 pages, are due no later than August 19, 2013. Reply comments, which shall not exceed 5 pages, are due 5 days after the last day for filing opening comments. .

In the event of problems with the e-mail or the internet link, please contact Antonina Swansen at, (415) 703-2546.

The afore-mentioned "internet link" did not work for me. So, the above is all I have for the moment. ABC news has reported that the decision will allow the illegal rideshares to become legal. But any relation between what ABC reports and reality is purely accidental. Until I can actually read what Swansen sent me, I won't understand what the decision really means.

In the meantime, we have thirty days from either now or the 24th to formulate arguments to sway the CPUC commission of the virtues our positon. In the meantime here are some photographs of the rally.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Protest Uber, Sidecar & Lyft at City Hall at Noon on Tuesday, July 30th

Anybody who thinks that the above illegal taxi services should not be operating should show up and be counted.

The protest is being organized by the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, the United Taxicab Workers and numerous individuals. It's also being backed and supported by many taxicab companies, the Medallion Holders Association and Flywheel – the legal taxi app.

The main aim of this protest is to expose the deception of Uber, Sidecar and Lyft which claim to be "sharing communities" at the same time as they refuse to accept the same basic responsibilities for the heath and welfare of their customers and drivers that is naturally granted by every other form of public transportation including: taxis, buses, limos, trains and airplanes.

The phony rideshare operations are the only means of public conveyance that force their customers and drivers to sign waivers of liability (see the above picture) before riding in their vehicles. This is doubly duplicitous because people are unaware that they are giving away fundamental rights when they agree to Uber, Sidecar and Lyft's terms of service. Almost nobody reads such things, and probably couldn't read the agreements on a smart phone even if they wanted to because the documents print out to over twenty pages on 12 point type – facts of which the bogus rideshares are fully aware.

Another purpose of the rally is to expose the lack of enforcement against these illegal taxis by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the City of San Francisco. One can only wonder, for instance, why Mayor Ed Lee is endangering the public by colluding with these fraudulent ridesharing corporations.

There will be many posters at the rally. I'd like to do a few myself but I have no artistic talent. My signs would read:

Uberx, Sidecar & Lyft
Uninsured Drivers,
Uninspected Vehicles
Unsafe Rides

 Mayor Ed Lee
Venture Capitalized?

Come and show your support!

BTW – here are links to the final two parts of Christopher B. Dolan's Examiner articles on Ridesharing:

Ridsharing also bad for drivers

Rideshare safety standards nonexistent

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Warmth of the "Sharing Community" vs Lyft & Sidecar's Terms of Service

Photo of the aftermath of an uninsured vehicle hitting a motorcycle on Lombard Street.

When people sign up to either drive for or ride with Lyft or Sidecar, they need to download an app. In order to download the apps they need to click a box saying that they agree with the companies' terms. Most people never bother to read the terms (or contracts) to which they are agreeing, and I used to be the same. Any time I needed to agree to anything to download something, I just naturally clicked "yes." 

Lyft  & Sidecar are counting on us to act this way. The terms of both these companies print out to over twenty pages of 12pt type and would be almost impossible to make sense of on a smart phone. Before I wrote 100,000 Uninsured Rides and Counting: Undercover at Lyft and Sidecar, it was very difficult to even find the terms on their websites because they were buried in obscure places. The terms can now be found on the front pages of both sites – near the bottom in very small print.

After coming into contact with Lyft and Sidecar, I now print out whatever terms I may be interested in and read them thoroughly before I agree to anything. I'd like to thank CEO's John Zimmer and Sunil Paul for correcting my overly optimistic views on the natural goodness of human nature. I'm sure my new found skepticism will serve me well in the future.

By way of contrast with a legitimate business; When I signed up to drive for Desoto Cab, Operations Manager Greg Cochran and I went over the contract together, and we both signed off on every clause.

For those of you – especially those of you who ride with, or drive for, one of these illegal taxi services – I'm providing you links to the contracts that you've signed so that you can read them (probably) for the first time. If you haven't, I strongly advise you to do so.

Lyft's Terms

Sidcar's Terms of Service

But before doing so you might want to glance at a recent post about a female Lyft customer who has been stalked by a Lyft driver. To be fair, I should point out that no background check is likely to turn up the fact that somebody is a creep since being a creep isn't illegal - at least not within limits.

However, if a woman would run into the similar behavior in a legal taxicab, she would be able to call both the cab company and 311 in San Francisco, and expect some action to be taken on her behalf. At Lyft & Sidecar, one can expect no help whatsoever.

(To read some highlights from the agreement you may have signed, click below.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Media Catches Up With Lyft, Sidecar & Other Illegal, Faux Rideshares

Here are links to recent media articles concerning the hazards of riding or working for Lyft , Sidecar and other illegal taxicabs (see driver in photo). These posts are a welcome sight after a year of unabashed adulation by techie rags like TechCrunch and the local papers. Did I mention uncritical?  Most of the coverage could have been written by the marketing departments of the fake carsharing corporations. The less-than-intrepid reporters did little more than take down bogus statements of Lyft CEO John Zimmer & Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul et al like brain-washed groupies quoting their gurus.

(To read the articles click below)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

News From the Lyft Lounge: Insurance? We Don't Need No Stinking Commercial Insurance ... Do We?

Subject: lyft lounge

Date: July 8, 2013 2:09:52 PM PDT

Jul 5 at 12:43pm · 
So I have State Farm insurance and they are dropping me for being a lyft driver.. Does anyone know where I can get insurance at?? I don't understand why they are doing this.. I have full coverage on my car.. Help??
Joshua Stull likes this.

Is your agent dropping you or the company?
Like · 2 · Jul 5 at 12:46pm

Did you tell them you're driving...or did they find out?
Like · Jul 5 at 12:48pm

why are they dropping you? I mean, did you tell them that you were a Lyft driver or report an accident while Lyfting or did they just say out of the blue "You're driving for Lyft so bye!"

If it's the latter, ask for where they received the information as the source would have had to obtained your insurance information illegally.
Like · Jul 5 at 12:48pm

Mario's question is the main question. Because when Stephanie introduced me to Jenny from State Farm Jenny said it's fine. You should email Jenny and figure it out if it is in fact the company.
Like · 3 · Jul 5 at 12:49pm

BTW, this is something else that is not informed to drivers during orientation - that current insurance companies do not have coverage that fit the ridesharing style and that reporting that you are driving for Lyft could result in them considering you too much of a risk and drop you.
Like · 3 · Jul 5 at 12:49pm

The insurance co is dropping me.. Cause I told them I need to make sure I am covered while driving and if anythings happens I don't want them to deny a claim.. She said they don't have that coverage so to look for another company that does..
Like · 1 · Jul 5 at 12:53pm

Like · Jul 5 at 12:54pm

Try Farmer's.
Like · Jul 5 at 12:56pm

Ah, mine told me that they'd drop me if I drove for Lyft so I said Ok, I won't bother driving for them. And am still driving. But I'm willing to take the risk. AFAIK, if I get into an accident that requires me to inform my insurance company that I work for Lyft, people will still be covered (due to Lyft's own policy) but my car won't be. Oh and they'll then drop me too.

From previous posts, there are currently no insurance carriers that will insure your car for the business purpose of transporting people (although a couple of people are working with insurance companies to change this - there's been no word of it being approved yet.)

If someone says they will, read the policy carefully about what it will cover and have them point out where and what it says will be covered if you have an accident while transporting passengers for money. An agent's word, even in writing, isn't a guarantee. It has to be in the policy itself.
Edited · Like · 1 · Jul 5 at 1:02pm

So how are we supposed to be driving around with our car not being protected is my question? I mean lyft should say "drive at your own risk" I have to have my car protected I still have a note on it.. I can't afford not to be covered.. Guess I won't be driving for lyft anymore...
Like · 1 · Jul 5 at 1:02pm

Many drivers have stopped because of the insurance issue. It's something Lyft is working on. Why they don't inform potential new drivers I won't hazard a guess. I haven't attended any recent trainings but during mine 3 months ago, I wasn't informed about the Cease and Desist Order from SFO either.

If I get into an accident, I don't plan on informing my insurance company why I was driving, just what happened. IMO, it's none of their business.
Edited · Like · 6 · Jul 5 at 1:06pm

I started a month or so ago and there was no mention at all of insurance issues or any issues at SFO,
Like · 2 · Jul 5 at 1:08pm

Bessy Rocio Orellana check with Allstate local...I just spoke with a general Allstate agent and she said that because lyft does have their 1 mill policy...they can find a policy that can match the limits necessary for you to drive insured....prices of course might be higher, but still peace of mind is worth it. My recommendation is to call a local Allstate carrier and tell them about lyft 1 mill liability insurance policy and go from there.
Like · Jul 5 at 1:09pm

I'm not worried about the liability part.. I have good liability coverage on my policy.. What I'm worried is about my collision if I hit I need my car fixed.. I understand some companies cover the liability only but I need all way coverage too
Like · Jul 5 at 1:19pm

I'm talking about covering yourself completely...since lyft is already covering the liability side for your gives your insurance company more incentive to find a full coverage plan for your car in case of any accident.
Like · 3 · Jul 5 at 1:43pm

There is (currently) NO collision insurance plans for privately owned vechicles operating to transport passengers as a business. It doesn't exist. They may eventually come up with one but for now, there isn't one.

The only way to get your car collision taken care of is for your insurance company to not know you were driving for lyft when it happened. You tell them the specifics and details of the accident but leave out any mention of lyft, ridesharing or transporting people for donations.

And hope the other side does as well.
Like · 2 · Jul 5 at 1:50pm

So whatever happened with the coverage someone was getting info on? I don't remember at tne moment who was this person.
Like · Friday at 3:51pm

Markus Dark is right. there is no company that will cover for ur while driving for lyft. Davis Highway Lee,Shawn C. Reed, & some other drivers did a research on this. Bottom line, It's a risk to drive for lyft now.
Like · 2 · Friday at 4:40pm

Carlos, there are a few people, both drivers and lyft employees, who are working on the issue. Trust me when I say the moment a solution is available, it will be widely announced.

Until such time, there's no need to bug them. They all know it is a high priority both from a legal as well as a public relations standpoint.
Like · 4 · Friday at 5:23pm

Maybe Lyft can set up something like a 401k for drivers car insurance. Wherein we could contribute an amount each month. Then we could be covered if our own insurance won't pay up.
Like · 3 · Friday at 6:51pm

But the problem is that what we're doing for Lyft is not "personal".
Like · Friday at 7:45pm

Carlos Angel I spent a couple weeks calling insurance companies of every stripe, including the companies that insure taxis and limos, but no one is able to write a policy for Lyft. Essentially the problem is that no one has calculated the risks yet, and without calculating the risk insurance companies wouldn't be able to set a price for coverage.

I've heard from one agent that the best solution would be for Lyft to partner with a major insurance carrier and offer to basically guarantee against the risk the insurance company would be taking by allowing Lyft.
Like · 7 · Friday at 7:56pm

Joshua, actually what we're doing is personal. We're private contractors using our personal cars to pick people up and transport them not for fares but donations.

None of us have a class A license which is what is currently required by law to transport passengers as a business nor the required medallion or TCP numbers for the vehicles where we could then get a commercial insurance.

As I said, there isn't an insurance system out there to cover what we're doing. The PUC needs to make sure the public is covered - which is what Lyft's liability insurance does. However, we're on the hook for our property.
Edited · Like · 3 · Friday at 8:28pm

Thanks for the answers. We have to keep up thinking about some type of solution for this. Meanwhile lets be careful.
Like · 2 · Saturday at 2:31am

Markus Dark I didn't say anything about lyft not having our backs. I wouldn't be driving if I didn't trust them. It's just that this an issue that we are dealing as of the moment. btw, who's CARLOS? lol
Like · 1 · Saturday at 7:44am

Hey Carlo you may not be able to see it but Markus was replying to Carlos Angel! Just FYI... Lol 
Like · Saturday at 8:50am

Markus Dark My bad, now i'm confused. lol Joe TheCondor I hope my prime art is still prime. lol
Like · 1 · Saturday at 9:43am

Are there cases of Lyft (or Side Car) drivers who's insurance company denied their claim?
Like · Saturday at 10:37am

Or of any driver actually needing to file a claim.
Like · Saturday at 11:18am

I know there's been accidents while lyfting. What has been the outcome, I don't know. I know I wouldn't have a need to post it here.
Like · Saturday at 11:55am

Please keep us posted. Hopefully this issue is resolved soon and we have choices of insurance providers. Seems to me Lyft (as well as Sidecar and UberX) risks a mass exodus if there ends up being an epidemic of insurance claims being denied.
Like · Saturday at 12:20pm

try USAA
Like · Saturday at 4:31pm

Lyft is an example of technology evolving. Just like cd to digital and file sharing... There will be soon "legal tape put up" to regulate a new market.
Like · 1 · Saturday at 6:10pm

I had a customer this morning that asked about our insurance. She said some cabbies were handing out flyers saying that it was dangerous to ride with us because we are uninsured. I told her that Lyft has a million dollar liability policy if our personal insurance doesn't cover it. My carrier, CSAA, said I was covered and hopefully that story doesn't change if I ever need it.
Like · Saturday at 7:24pm

You mean USAA?
Like · Saturday at 7:36pm

When I called my State Farm agent she said she had just got out of a meeting about how they intend to handle ride share insurance. She said there's no precedent and that's what's holding things up (along the lines of what Tony said). Trust me, they want to take our money and will find a way ASAP 
Like · 1 · Yesterday at 2:39am

Hi Mike. No, not USAA. CSAA is Calif. State Auto Assoc. (also known as AAA).
Like · Yesterday at 1:59pm

Ok thanks.
Like · Yesterday at 2:03pm

call the ca dept of insurance on monday and tell them about the cancellation letter you recieved and explain to them that the insurance company has made a definition and misclassification error and discriminating against you on false pretenses. only a judge can make a definition of a classification such as a lyft driver to be standardized for an insurance company. it could be a class action law suit if they persist with these sorts of tactics. insurance is regulated by the state and im sure there was meeting in the state gvernment about lyft driver insurance coding nd classification for the sake of jurisprudence.
Like · 2 · Yesterday at 3:11pm

Call me if u need help ill get u sorted if u cant figure it out i was an insurance managing agent for 7 years. 415 424 3313
Like · Yesterday at 5:37pm

Good luck with that Kieth. In the meantime you might want to read the terms you agreed to when you signed up with Lyft.


And, why don't you ask John Zimmer to show you the  terms, conditions and exclusions
 of the million policy that you imagine that you are covered by?

The Phantom