You know how local cab drivers have been bemoaning the hit their business is taking from services like Uber and Lyft? Well, new legislation proposed by the SFMTA would require all 1,700 cabs in town to transmit their coordinates as part of a new, smart-phone-friendly electronic network.
Cabs can already voluntarily participate in several smart-phone-enabled services, including Uber, however the new law would level that playing field for all cab drivers, with a view toward making the entire fleet more accessible to those in need of a cab.
The trouble is, of course, service, and the fact that a good number of our cab drivers are unprofessional bigots and goons who don't represent well for their ilk, smoking in their own cabs, refusing to take credit cards, being homophobic, and refusing to drive to the Sunset and elsewhere. In one complaint unearthed by the Bay Citizen recently, a female passenger got stalked by a cabbie who stole personal information about her from her credit card.
As DeSoto Cab general manager Athan Rebelos tells the Ex, "No one is going to be that happy" if this new system just connects people to unprofessional drivers.
So, yes, hence the success of Uber! We're all pretty willing to spend a couple extra bucks to ride in comfort, to be treated well, and to get a car sent to us within minutes in situations where we might otherwise stand around for twenty waiting for one of the traditional cab companies.
We heard recently, via a driver for Uber, in fact, that the service Uber currently offers in which you can search for and hire a regular yellow cab through their app, is likely going away. The company is allegedly only offering the yellow cab option by way of comparison, knowing that most customers will come to choose their black cars after a few bad experiences with regular taxis.