In Depth: Ride-sharing drivers pretending to be taxis in violation of state law, getting huge fines


By Vince Cestone, KRON and

Published: May 17, 2016, 11:04 pm  Updated: May 18, 2016, 2:31 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — KRON’s Stanley Roberts goes in-depth about the dangers of jumping into a rideshare vehicle you did not call for.

A KRON investigation reveals rogue Uber and Lyft drivers picking up passengers and cutting out the taxi cab.

KRON’s Stanley Roberts was there for a San Francisco crackdown and explains why you need to think twice before hailing a ride.

Only a taxi driver can be a taxi driver, and while that may sound strange, there is a problem where other people are pretending to be taxi drivers.

So, San Franciso police and the SFMTA conduct regular enforcement stings looking for rogue drivers. Basically, they put two decoys out on the street to hail a ride.

If you are not a taxi, you are not allowed to pick up passengers. However, app-based drivers often do, despite knowing it’s a big no-no.

Stanley rode with plain-clothed officers from the San Francisco Police Department on a crackdown funded entirely by the SFMTA to catch app-based drivers behaving badly.

A ticket from the police is one thing, but an administrative ticket from SFMTA can cost as high as $5,000.

Uber reached out to KRON and wanted to clarify the following:

(We) want to clarify, on background, that Uber only works through the app. Street-hailing is an explicit violation of our terms of service and if (these) drivers are indeed partners with Uber, then they will be deactivated….All drivers undergo a local, state, and federal background check before getting onboarded. During the ride, all trips are GPS tracked and folks can share their trip details with their friends and family. This is the sort of transparency that technology enables. It is also important because the service is completely cashless. So riders and drivers don’t have to worry about carrying cash. After the ride, there is a two-way feedback system that allows us to have quality controls.

Uber added that “there are serious consequences for those drivers who break our terms of service.”