When filmmaker and SF State student Max Maddox started seeing "so many mustached cars drive by," he was led to create "Taxi 2.0," a short documentary film "not just about the heated war between taxis and rideshares" in San Francisco, but "about the lives of drivers caught in the crosshairs."
Talking to both passengers and drivers of traditional taxi cabs as well as "ridesharing" companies like Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber, Maddox and his crew present a provocative mix of reactions to the "disruption" presently occurring in the industry, from a woman who seems proud of her ignorance of the rules that new companies may be flouting, to a cab driver who says he considered switching to Uber until he realized he wouldn't be insured.
In the doc, Jonah Deutschman, an S.F. native and former cabbie turned Uber driver, appears especially conflicted about his company's role in the Brave New World. "Who's taking all the gravy, basically?" he asks. "Who's picking up the old lady at the grocery store? When the cab companies go bankrupt, who's going to service the para-transit people? Who's going to service the people in wheelchairs?"
"They're going to bankrupt an industry that serves the lower-end population," Deutschman says, echoing a sentiment expressed by the head of De Soto Cab Company last month, who said he'd be "surprised" if local cab companies would be around in a couple years.
At the project's end, Maddox tells Vice, "I'm still on the fence about transportation network companies, or rideshares, whatever you want to call them. I usually feel half-guilty when I get in a TNC, but the cab system is far from perfect at the same time."