SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Ride hailing companies Uber and Lyft are facing a crackdown in San Francisco.
UPDATE 6/13: Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick To Take Leave
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is among those applying renewed pressure.
Lee said, “You know change is good, especially if the objective is to improve.”
One would be hard-pressed to find a bigger tech booster than Lee, but even he has been butting heads with ride hailing companies in recent months.
“There’s too many reports about double parking, picking up people in the wrong places, compromising bike paths and bike lanes,” Lee said.
Lee’s not alone. The city treasurer wants more information to enforce business licences for drivers.
Meanwhile, the city attorney just subpoenaed Uber and Lyft as part of an investigation into whether the companies are abiding by local regulations on disability access, pollution and traffic.
San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said enough is enough.
“The estimate is that there are 45,000 TNC drivers on our streets. We don’t need to see the numbers, we can feel it,” Kim said.
Kim has called for a 20 cent per ride fee, with the money going into improving traffic control.
“They use our roads to make a profit and I think when you use our city and public infrastructure that you should give back to the community,” Kim said.
On the other hand, Uber is immensely popular and a key part of the city’s economy.
Mayor Lee said, “They are employing several thousand people right now. And they are building their headquarters in Mission Bay, so on the economic level, they are quite a positive impact.”
Jim Lazarus with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce said, “They are an employer, potentially would have thousands of employees in San Francisco over the next five or six years.”
He said, “Well, there is no doubt that technology and job growth in general in San Francisco has created gentrification issues.”
But like other tech companies, Uber also has a reputation for ignoring local rules and concerns.
“I want Uber to change and work with us,” Lee said. “Be part of the quality of life that people enjoy, and not just making a lot of money.”
Kim said, “I think that it is important that they think of new leadership.”
“They could do much better,” Lee said.
The Uber board seems to agree that Uber needs to change.
Uber confirmed that Emil Michael, senior vice president of business, has left the company.
Michael had been a key executive there since 2013 and a close confidant of CEO Travis Kalanick.
On Sunday, Uber’s board of directors approved recommendations made by former U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, who led a team that looked at ways to improve Uber’s internal culture following allegations of sexual harassment and other workplace issues.