People who follow San Francisco's transit industry are likely familiar with the name John Han — he's written, on and off, about the cab business for years on his blog, and he's a frequent go-to for news orgs looking for pithy quotes on SF's taxi troubles in These Uber Times. Somehow, in his time off from his 13-year career as a cab driver, he found the time to shoot a recently-released, full-length documentary on the topic, entitled Driving for Hire.
The friction between new transit options like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar has been a rich one to mine for videographers eager to capture an industry that's either dramatically changing or dying (depending on who you're talking to), and it's interesting to see a feature-length doc like Han's, which comprehensively covers the history of cabs in SF and takes viewers into some seriously-inside-cab-baseball stuff.
KQED reports that it took Han about 10 months to complete the film, which he released this past Sunday on YouTube. He says he took a "crash course" in shooting and editing video, then dove in, even trying to nab an interview with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (who never responded to his request).
“I felt some issues weren’t being looked at enough and addressed enough,” Han says.
“I wanted to emphasize some things, particularly around the disability issue. And it doesn’t seem like anyone on the regulatory or legislative side is in any hurry to determine the environmental impacts.”
As with almost all documentaries, Han's has an agenda: he calls for more regulations of new services, and is definitely partial to the cabbie's plight. But he still hits on a lot of the longstanding issues of the biz that probably opened the door for Lyft, etc, things like terrible customer service and an unwillingness to take passengers to low-return-fare areas.
Interested? You can watch the entire documentary below.
Previously: Video: The War Between Taxis And 'Rideshares'