On Thursday, SFist published a letter from Trevor Johnson -- a licensed cabbie who drove and dispatched full time for over three years -- criticizing successful ride-sharing services (like Lyft and Sidecar) popular throughout San Francisco and other major metropolitan areas. You can read the letter here. For balance and consideration, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer penned the following missive in response to Mr. Johnson's piece.
Thanks for the opportunity to answer questions about Lyft’s emerging transportation platform. In response to the letter from the former cab driver and medallion holder, safety has been the leading priority for the Lyft community from the very beginning.
The truth is, our driver screening and overall insurance policies go beyond what other transportation alternatives, such as taxis, limos and black cars provide, which is why the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) recently signed an operating agreement with Lyft. The CPUC also verified our $1,000,000 liability insurance, which is higher than required by California-based limos, black cars and taxis. Further, Lyft’s criminal and DMV background checks do not allow drivers with a violent crime or DUI conviction, while both taxis and black cars do not have those same restrictions. Safety is part of our DNA, and it matters to our community.
The accident mentioned in the letter to the editor occurred three weeks ago. No one involved was cited by the SFPD. It is misleading to show a picture of an accident insinuating that something is wrong with these new transportation models. Anyone could post photos of taxis in similar situations. As with all modes of transportation, there will be unfortunate accidents and the priority should be making sure all involved are safe. When accidents do occur, we will always be reminded that safety is the top priority as we continue our mission to make transportation more safe and social.
- John Zimmer, Lyft Co-Founder