According to the SFO ruling granting temporary permits to the TNCs, "All TNC Vehicles not actively loading or unloading passengers shall be parked in the designated staging area ... TNC Vehicles may only enter enter the Airport terminal if carrying an Airport-bound passenger or if a ride request has been accepted from a customer at the Airport."
In addition, there is supposed to be a "GeoFence" around the "Polygon" or perimeter of SFO where the TNC Apps won't work – call it a TNC dead zone. This means that the TNC Apps should only work in the TNC staging area and not anywhere else in or near the Airport.
But, in fact, the SFO doesn't appear to be enforcing its ruling and, of course, Uber drivers are paying little or no attention to it. The following sequence took place on November 16, 2014 between 9:18 pm and 9:28.
Photo One Shows an Uber cruising at the lower level of SFO with its App open and seeking a ride.
Photo Three show the Uber meeting its customer on the upper level of the International Terminal
Photo Four shows the customer climbing into the faux taxicab ... er... TNC.
This was not an isolated incident. Quite the opposite. These photos were taken by limo and cab driver Douglas O'Conner and he sees more Ubers either hiding out on the top level of SFO or cruising with the app open ever time he drives through.
12-14-2014 An Uber cruises with App available.
12-21-2014 An Uber cruises with the App open. The driver spent half an hour circling the upper level.
1-11-2015 An Uber hangs out on McDonnell Road after the driver spotted Doug following him.
1-22-2015 An Uber hangs out on the upper level of SFO.
For Uber watchers this is hardly shocking. If Uber has ever shown any indication that it intends to obey any rule or regulation I'm unaware of it. This, after all, is a venture-capitalized corporation that is run by a CEO that has never heard a lie that he didn't want to tell himself. This is a corporation that lies to every customer and driver that downloads their App, unaware that they're signed away their rights to collect liability in case of negligence. This is a corporation that refuses to fingerprint or train its drivers. This is a company that makes agreements simply to get regulators off it's back.
And, they've succeeded admirably at SFO. I drove around with Doug on December 14, 2014 and we saw dozens of Ubers hanging out at various places on both the upper and lower levels but we failed to see one single SFO cop checking to see if the Ubers were there.
I recently ran into an Indian cab driver who said that America had become the most corrupt country in the world. He's got a good argument. The Indian government shut down Uber and even issued an indictment against CEO Travis Kalanick. And, China chased them out of the country for not obeying the rules.
Here, in California, the powers-that-be reward them by lowering or eliminating safety standards – let the public be dammed – and Uber still doesn't bother to pay any attention to what weak and pathetic rules they have agreed to follow.
And why should they? Here the long arm of the local law reaches out, not with hand cuffs, but with palms up and wide open.