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SFO Officials Make Citizen Arrests Of Internet Rideshare Drivers

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Lyft Rideshare Service

(Essdras M Suarez/Getty Images)

MILLBRAE (CBS SF) — In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said.

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to “various offenders” since July 10.

The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April.

Since then, Yakel said airport officials, in conjunction with airport police, had been “admonishing” drivers that came to the airport.

Yakel said the companies are not permitted to offer their services at SFO and they are now being arrested for unlawful trespassing.

The state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates and licenses passenger carriers, has been looking into how to regulate these new types of companies.

An evaluation of ridesharing services will come to the commission sometime this week after being mulled since the beginning of the year, CPUC spokesman Chris Chow said.

Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to “keep taxis regulated and safe” and are calling for the end of ridesharing services.

The taxi group, comprised of members from the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and the United Taxicab Workers of San Francisco, are demanding that city officials and regulatory agencies consider rideshare companies as illegal taxi services.

The protesters claim that the drivers are exempt from regulation, vehicle inspections, and insurance and driver requirements.

They are calling the growing practice a “clear public safety hazard.”

Dean Clark, a former taxi driver for nearly a decade, said authorities should be targeting the companies rather than the rideshare drivers.

He said the drivers are simply offering rides to people for a donation, and that unlike what the taxi industry claims, many of the drivers are working students, semi-retired people and single parents.

Clark said the pick-up area is taxi domain because there is a pick-up fee, and rideshare drivers know and respect that.

He said rideshare drivers should be allowed to drop off customers at the airport without being “harassed” by airport officials.

Representatives from Lyft and Sidecar were not available Monday afternoon and an Uber representative declined comment.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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