Frequently asked questions
Updated: April 8, 2014
Why do you think uberX, Lyft, and Sidecar are taxis?
These so-called “ridesharing” companies perform the same service as taxis, and they do it for profit. Taxicab and “rideshare” companies both recruit drivers, receive orders from passengers, pick up and accept payment from passengers, and the companies pass on the credit card revenue (minus fees) to the drivers. That is taxicab service.
Isn’t ‘Who’s Driving You?’ just a scare tactic to dissuade customers from using Uber, Lyft and Sidecar?
The ‘Who's Driving You?’ provides consumers with information they may not have. The purpose is to enable consumers to make an informed decision. Services like uberX, Lyft and Sidecar are unlicensed taxicabs that do not comply with the public safety requirements that licensed transportation companies are required to meet.
Don’t uberX and Lyft have more, not less, insurance than taxis?
Uber, Lyft and Sidecar all say they have $1 million “excess liability” policies. That may sound like a lot, but it’s practically meaningless.
First of all, excess liability insurance only kicks in after a driver’s primary insurance has paid a claim. Considering that insurance companies have proven they will cancel the policies of drivers found to be earning money from ridesharing (uberX, Lyft and Sidecar), there is a strong possibility the excess liability may never kick in.
Second, ridesharing companies uberX and Lyft now say they have expanded their policies to cover accidents at any time that a driver is logged into their system. It is impossible to know how robust this coverage truly is unless these companies release their full policies to the public—something
they have repeatedly refused to do. Third, insurance coverage has always been tied to a vehicle, and not to a driver. When tied to a vehicle, the insurance can’t be turned “on” or “off.” It is either covered, or it isn’t. Ridesharing services want to pick and choose when a vehicle is covered, which will lead to uncertainty and endless litigation with every accident.
Can the TLPA prove that the drivers employed by uberX, Lyft and Sidecar are more dangerous?
There are numerous media reports about uberX, Lyft and Sidecar not meeting public safety requirements. The two basic safety measures they fail to meet are: 1) full-time commercial auto liability insurance to protect passengers, drivers and innocent bystanders and 2) criminal background checks for drivers through police and/or FBI databases that include fingerprinting.
Aren’t you just protecting the turf of traditional taxi and limousine companies?
No. ‘Who's Driving You?’ is primarily about ensuring public safety, community-wide service, and a level playing field for conducting business. We only ask that we be allowed to compete fairly.
Is your ultimate goal to put ridesharing out of business?
No. We want to move everyone ahead with a safe, reliable ride, and the best way to do that is to make sure that every company has to follow the same set of safety rules: proper insurance, strict background checks, and community-wide access.
What’s the difference between uberX/Lyft/Sidecar and carpooling?
Big difference. These companies want you to believe that they are “ridesharing,” which is another way of saying “carpooling.” But true ridesharing is a nonprofit service where two people who are heading in the same direction decide to carpool. The passenger might even agree to pay a portion of gas and tolls. That’s allowed under the law.
But uberX, Lyft and Sidecar have co-opted the term “ridesharing” when in truth their drivers are out on the streets playing taxi driver to make some extra cash. When they do that, they should then be classified as commercial drivers, and should have to receive training, buy proper commercial grade insurance and pay taxes from their fares.
But ridesharing is environmentally friendly. Why would you be against that?
Think about it: Let’s say Suzie owns a car. Ordinarily, Suzie would drive to and from work and use the car to run errands. But suddenly Suzie sees that she can earn extra money by driving around for hours picking up passengers. So Suzie’s car is now burning far more fossil fuel than it used to. Yet the passenger volume hasn’t increased—it’s only shifted from once taking taxis to now taking rideshare. Of course the taxis are still on the street too, so now you have more congestion and air pollution.
Are you against innovation?
We are for innovation. For decades, the regulated, licensed for-hire transportation industry has been at the forefront of using technology to improve customer experience, such as using GPS and credit card swipe machines. Hundreds of fleets already use their own apps to connect passengers with a licensed and trained driver. Our objection is in allowing these apps to let anyone with a car cruise the streets looking for passengers without proper training, insurance and background checks, and without any mandate that they must serve all communities of a city, including low-income areas and people who require wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
But taxi companies have had drivers with criminal records, too, right?
It’s a valid point that some bad apples slip through the cracks even when police administer the very best criminal background checks. But this makes the case for more scrutiny of ridesharing’s screening process, not less.
Why do you keep saying this is unfair competition? Isn’t this just capitalism?
It’s unfair because on one hand you have the taxi and limousine industry that has to follow rules, and those rules cost money. On the other hand you have ridesharing, which doesn’t think it should follow any rules, and therefore, will dramatically minimize its overhead and responsibilities.
For example, it typically costs between $5,000 and $10,000 each year to properly insure a taxicab with commercial auto liability insurance. It costs about $100 per driver to do a proper criminal background check. Taxicabs and limousines also have to be inspected multiple times a year.
Ridesharing services don’t follow the regulations. They simply give a driver an iPhone and tell him or her to start picking up the public. And who wins most from that deal? The corporations behind these ridesharing services, that’s who. They collect money while drivers assume all of the risk.