Skip to content

Recent Comments

  1.  

    mx

    Not wanting a single restroom because it won’t be accessible to disabled riders in other cars is absurd. Make sure the restroom is accessible to disabled riders in one car and provide adequate information to riders as to where it is located. Disabled riders can still board and ride in any car, but passengers who want to be close to the restroom can position themselves accordingly.

    Disabled riders could also change cars via the platform at stations to get to the restroom if they are otherwise unable to do so, and if they informed the conductor first, could get some extra time to make the move, given the rarity in which this will come up.

    And this is all assuming all disabled riders won’t be able to travel to the restroom, which is something we don’t know because we don’t know the train design yet.

  2.  

    Marven Norman

    Seriously, bikes over bathrooms? That’s preposterous. Caltrain should start by finally taking a bold step that should been done a long time ago: institute a bike surcharge. That money can be added to the $3mn seed money to significantly expand the bike parking at stations into something useful. Even alone, that money would buy over 8500 Velopa Easylift+ racks (or similar) or even more of less fancy versions. They should also definitely tap into cap & trade funds and insist that any station rebuilds for CAHSR include far more bike parking spots than are currently available and that those spots be in enclosed facilities with security.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I am not really aware of all the fine points of bike parking situation at Caltrain stations, but considering that CityLab recently gushed over a Dutch bike parking facility at a train station that is barely average compared to other new ones, I think it’s safe to say that anything remotely similar even on the drawing board here in America would still be talked about. But while Utrecht works on a 12k spot garage, I haven’t heard of anything remotely similar being worked on in the Bay Area. The closest thing that I could find is the Berkeley Bike Station, which has 18x fewer spaces than the new garages at Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynIRAhoqoBc

    Also, the Bay Area has the potential to be one of the few areas in the country where promoting BiTiBi commutes without everyone having to tote a bike along can still be viable in relatively short order thanks to Bay Area Bike Share. BABS can be expanded and improved by establishing the station parking as bike share access points (like the Dutch OV-fiets system), greatly reducing frustration of a full dock and also keeping more bikes available. It also allows Caltrain to focus on what they should be doing best: moving people.

  3.  

    Mountain Viewer

    Doesn’t BART also disallow bike on board when car is full?

  4.  

    Andy B from Jersey

    Dude! Really?!!? No bathrooms on trains?!?! Even though I wrote the book on how to make NJ TRANSIT more bike friendly, shoving more and more bikes on to Caltrain is not the solution. Go buy a Brompton!

  5.  

    murphstahoe

  6.  

    murphstahoe

    If I were in a real pinch, I could get off BART, go take a leak, and get on another train 15 minutes later. That’s not the case for Caltrain. Granted Caltrain should have the same nominal frequency as BART, but Caltrain also has some pretty popular stations where adding bathrooms would be a stretch – Lawrence, Cal Ave, etc…

  7.  

    murphstahoe

    Without bathrooms – it might as well be a bus. Seriously. I can stomach no bar car – but no bathroom is a joke.

  8.  

    vcs

    Current situation: Taxi service is controlled by a bunch of small-time “millionaire” bozos in every single city

    Future situation: Taxi service is controlled by a global monopolist “uber” corporation.

    This is literally what you want.

    Also, short-term thinkers can’t understand that the “low prices, great service” thing is entirely VC subsidized until they can run said small-timers out of business. Once Uber wins, it will be the same immigrants and otherwise unemployable assholes, with the bonus that you’ll be someone’s dubiously maintained old Camry instead of a commercial vehicle.

  9.  

    Bob Gunderson

    That would explain the plunge in tourism, profits from hotels & resaurants, and even housing prices. No one can get here or wants to be here because of the nightmare you describe. Can’t wait for your citations that prove this point!

  10.  

    p_chazz

    Apparently, they did. In a later story the Caltrain board went with more bike apace and no restrooms.

  11.  

    saimin

    Opening the existing restrooms at train stations along the peninsula would greatly reduce the need for restrooms onboard the trains. Right now, some people have an hour bus ride combined with an hour train ride. A restroom at the train station could make this trip tolerable.

  12.  

    Michael Mathews

    Some of us are working on petitions and other ways to get word to the board that we are not okay with a zero option.

  13.  

    Michael Mathews

    A friend of mine was suggesting the same experiment on Twitter.

    This is not about failure to plan ahead, this is about unforeseen and uncontrollable situations that happen far too often.

    I have a commute that is minimum one hour 45 minutes, and is well over 2.5 hours if I have to take a local because connecting service is infrequent and often badly timed. I have exceeded three hour commutes more times than I can count (this is ONE WAY).

    I also often have to choose between stopping at the bathroom at work versus catching the light rail which is timed for the Caltrain I prefer. Knowing there is a bathroom on the train takes care of that problem.

    Finally, the two stations that actually have bathrooms are not available for all service hours. SJ closes around 10 pm; which is when many Sharks game end. SF is also closed when you pull in on later night locals, as are all the nearby businesses. I don’t think local businesses should provide restrooms for transit users.

  14.  

    Andy Chow

    It was probably Ed Lee’s office staged this coup. Tom Nolan a month ago made a plea for restroom while the original recommendation was no restroom, and now he flip-floped because he was told because that single restroom may not necessarily be accessible to disabled riders in other cars, no one else should have access to it.

    The San Mateo County members are not favor of the sudden change in bike capacity, because it will be San Mateo County riders who are most likely to stand in favor of space for someone to store their property.

    3 million may just seed money for better bike access, but each bike space onboard can go $20-30k. You can buy at least 5-6 elockers at this price and buy someone a 2nd bike.

  15.  

    Michael Mathews

    BART doesn’t routinely strand you between stations for 1-2 hours due to breakdowns and fatalities. They are much better are restoring a degree of service. Caltrain also has times during the day with only one train per hour. If you miss that train trying to find a bathroom, you are really screwed.
    Using the bathroom is not an optional thing.

  16.  

    jd_x

    I think 1 or maybe 2 per train is plenty sufficient. Bart doesn’t have bathrooms on the train and nobody is overly-concerned about that. I think bathrooms are a nice bonus, but they can’t take priority over space for passengers given the massive shortage of capacity Caltrain is experiencing. Until we get to the day where society is ready to truly fund public transit, walking, and bicycling instead of automobile infrastructure, then I think we need to do without “extras” such as bathrooms.

  17.  

    Wanderer

    Most of the people who come across the Bay Bridge corridor use BART or a bus.

  18.  

    mx

    Much as we need more bike space on Caltrain, one bathroom per train is a must. It’s a basic part of making the service comfortable for everyone and just plain accessible to those who need access to a restroom.

  19.  

    Affen_Theater

    With Caltrain’s current operating frequencies, clientele, special event service, complete lack of station bathrooms at all but 2 stations and totally unpredictable “incidents” causing major delays from time to time, having at least one bathroom per Caltrain is essential.

    If Caltrain staff or board members disagree, let them lock up their existing on-train bathrooms right away as a “proof of concept” and see what happens. A lot better to find out they really do need bathrooms now instead of after buying an entire new electric train fleet without bathrooms.

  20.  

    sebra leaves

    This city is turning into a nightmare as fast as people can dream up ways to screw it up. Disruptive is not the word for it. Watch the traffic over the weekend with BART and probably a bridge or two down. Could they do a better job of keeping people away? I doubt it.

  21.  

    Mike

    You seem like a tiny little man!

  22.  

    Mike

    TL;DR – clearly your ‘TNC analyst’ job is a sham, you’re on the Uber payrolls, right? Or perhaps Lyft’s? Because a quick look at your profile shows some prolific shilling across multiple articles.

  23.  

    Dark Soul

    Aaron Bialick ..waiting for the next Muni Service increase news =P

  24.  

    Jesse

    jk, it looks like you fell into “Mike’s” trollish trappings. He’s just an angry short/short-sighted little man with a grudge against everything tech-related while living in one of the biggest tech cities in the world. For all his complaining about Uber/Lyft, proliferation of tech workers and their coaches, phones and watches and glasses shoved in everyone’s faces, his “friends” (I’m not sure he has any) and neighbors getting pushed out of their housing, and the prices of coffee and toast, I’m not sure why he hasn’t moved to backwoods Virginia where nothing ever changes and coffee tastes like dirt but only costs $1/cup, just the way he likes society to be.

    (Posted on the RIGHT thread this time.)

  25.  

    Jesse

    jk, it looks like you fell into “Mike’s” trollish trappings. He’s just an angry short/short-sighted little man with a grudge against everything tech-related while living in one of the biggest tech cities in the world. For all his complaining about Uber/Lyft, proliferation of tech workers and their coaches, phones and watches and glasses shoved in everyone’s faces, his “friends” (I’m not sure he has any) and neighbors getting pushed out of their housing, and the prices of coffee and toast, I’m not sure why he hasn’t moved to backwoods Virginia where nothing ever changes and coffee tastes like dirt but only costs $1/cup, just the way he likes society to be.

  26.  

    jk

    “Uber has broken laws and regulations in pretty much all 57 countries they operate in.”

    Really?! Wow! Please enlighten us with this information that somehow you and only you possess! I’m aware of their problems in India, South Korea, France, Italy and Germany, but how on *earth* could I have missed all the OTHER 50-odd countries where they operate illegally?!?

    “I’m making educated deductions, you’re making wild-ass accusations.”

    I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around, given the incredibly obvious fallacy in your next statement…

    “Uber operates at a loss”

    ON PURPOSE! Good God, did you even go to college?? Do you know *anything* about the economics of startup ventures? (For that matter, did you even *take* Econ 101?) Or – wait, lemme guess – am *I* am absolute idiot (in your opinion), despite having worked in the tech industry since 1995; co-founding two of MY OWN startup companies; *and* having a law degree?

    “None of these companies are actually worth the billions cited by VC funding”

    Ah, I get it: all venture capitalists are idiots (in your deluded worldview), too! This despite most of them (or at least the ones in Silicon Valley investing in Uber and the like) having net worths in the nine-figure range! Despite their Stanford and Harvard MBAs and decades of experience in the industry, *you* know vastly more than *them* that none of their investments are worth jack shit!

    “If you’re an analyst who covers TNCs, you must’ve forgotten the adjective ‘unemployed’, because you’re reeeaaaallllly bad at your job.”

    And you’re reeeaaaallllly bad at reading comprehension, seeing as I already stated that I’m not a financial analyst. You’re also apparently willfully ignorant, seeing as you’re inferring unemployment has much of anything to do with TNCs. Back in the reality-based world, however, unemployment is at a seven-year-low, and a large majority of Uber drivers are not only *not* unemployed, they’re employed *full-time* elsewhere! (and driving occasionally on the side) See, this is one of those things you learn as an *actual* analyst, not someone that just shoots random unfounded bullshit out of his head…

    “Just skimmed your little temper-tantrum of reasons to criticize Uber, as you cite at least a few ways they break laws and regulations, undermining your first point.”

    Temper-tantrum? Hmmm. Do you infantilize everyone who points out you’re full of it? Clearly you didn’t notice that absolutely nothing in my last post was indicative of Uber breaking any laws or regs; I was merely pointing out where one could make an argument that they *should* be regulated, instead of relying on the same false tropes cited time and time again (e.g. “Uber is unregulated”), despite them being unequivocally false.

  27.  

    Bob Gunderson

    The sage, ancient wisdom of the firefighter’s union should never be questioned. Parked cars & car congestion are never the problem, but 6 inch high unobstructed bulbouts are a hazard to their grotesquely large vehicle fleet.

  28.  

    jk

    “There’s no new regulation needed for them to buy a fleet of cars and hiring drivers.”

    Um, neither Uber nor Lyft owns any cars … which is part of my whole *point* that they’re fundamentally different from taxis.

    “They need laws changed in their favor because their business model is exploitative.”

    Of whom? Are you assuming that their drivers are all idiots who can’t perform basic math? (and btw the taxi industry is VASTLY more exploitative of their drivers on whole) Or that they’re all utterly desperate and resort to driving for Uber as a last-ditch effort, despite the facts that a) unemployment in the U.S. is at a seven-year low and b) unemployment in SF specifically is nearing an all-time low of 3%?

    “Customers generally cannot tell the difference in quality (and whatever they see is basically on the surface) between under-insured unregulated TNCs”

    Once more, with feeling: TNCs ARE *NOT* UNREGULATED. They also ALREADY carry MUCH more insurance that 95% of the country’s taxi companies. Further, you’re also clearly assuming that TNC customers are just as idiotic as TNC drivers. (And lemme guess: who’s the *one* person who’s smarter than everyone else and understands the whole thing is a sham? You! By God, you’re an unappreciated PRODIGY!)

  29.  

    mckillio

    I had no idea that’s what those are for, thanks!

  30.  

    mckillio

    Then they’re not abiding by the law, which is a separate issue.

  31.  

    voltairesmistress

    I am pleased that Supervisor Christiansen both stuck to the facts and unified people. She has done work for safer streets prior to becoming supervisor, yes? Very promising start for the supervisor.

  32.  

    MrEricSir

    Hasn’t someone on the BART board told CalTrain that terrorists use restrooms?

  33.  

    Mike

    Wow, you’re loquacious.

    - Uber has broken laws and regulations in pretty much all 57 countries they operate in. Only difference is how visibly the authorities go after them.

    - I’m making educated deductions, you’re making wild-ass accusations.

    - None of these companies are actually worth the billions cited by VC funding, and Uber operates at a loss:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-30/uber-bonds-term-sheet-reveals-470-million-in-operating-losses

    - If you’re an analyst who covers TNCs, you must’ve forgotten the adjective ‘unemployed’, because you’re reeeaaaallllly bad at your job. I suspect you’re lying.

    - Just skimmed your little temper-tantrum of reasons to criticize Uber, as you cite at least a few ways they break laws and regulations, undermining your first point. Ironic, isn’t it, ‘analyst’?

    - Thank GOD you’ll stop there. BTW – Uber doesn’t require drivers use hybrids. And yeah there are children starving in Africa too, but thankfully we have people smarter than you in this world, so that as a society we can do more than one thing at a time!

  34.  

    Andy Chow

    There’s no new regulation needed for them to buy a fleet of cars and hiring drivers. They need laws changed in their favor because their business model is exploitative. They were told no and keep doing it until the regulators give in.

    Customers generally cannot tell the difference in quality (and whatever they see is basically on the surface) between under-insured unregulated TNCs and insured carriers, just as they cannot tell the difference between unlicensed and licensed contractor, and between other unqualified or qualified professionals. Even before TNCs there have been illegal cabs around, but they weren’t just got legalized not without equaling the playing field.

  35.  

    Andy Chow

    The problem is not the app but the service delivery model. Their delivery model depends on externalizing the costs that other carriers have to pay for. Cabs and limos have dedicated vehicles, full time insurance, employment protection/benefits, etc. TNCs require drivers to use their insurance first and have to cover expenses on their own.

    There’s nothing preventing those companies from buying their own fleet, and hire driver as employees. But Lyft in particular started to use private automobiles which set this downward trend.

  36.  

    jk

    “I don’t understand this. Shouldn’t the end goal be to reduce car trips?”

    No, it should be reducing trips *and* ownership. Personal cars have to be parked somewhere, and tens of thousands of them end up being parked on city streets. This causes myriad problems, including but not limited to GHGs emitted while driving around trying to find a parking spot; streets being effectively limited to one lane of traffic thanks to cars being parked on one or both sides; and reductions in the ability to offer bike lanes and/or dedicated bus lanes because a street has parking spots that for one (usually political) reason or another can’t feasibly be eliminated.

    “Also, services like Lyft and Uber (and taxis for that matter) can actually increase miles driven over someone who owns a car since the car has to drive to pick the person up in addition to driving the trip itself.”

    I don’t think that’s true, at least in SF. Uber and Lyft are ubiquitous to the point of a car being 2-3 minutes away from just about any point in the city, so there really aren’t that many extra miles being driven. Furthermore, as already noted, most local car owners lack off-street parking, so they often have to drive around hunting for a place to park, both near their home and near wherever their destination might be.

  37.  

    Mark Theil

    Hi mx, care to give Zailoo – Rideshare companion a try, it does the cost and time comparison for all ridesharing services for you, so you dont have to do it in multiple apps. Let me know how you like it. http://www.zailoo.com

  38.  

    Upright Biker

    I was there, and I don’t feel it was as contentious as portrayed. Yes, Macchiarini did his blowhard thing, and some grumpy, uninformed people complained as usual about scooters and skateboards and bicycles riding on the sidewalks and North Beach being different from when their dad used to be able to park right in front — right in front, mind you — of their house — every day, but all in all, the support for the bulb-outs was there. Admittedly, Dep. Chief Lombardi was all dog whistles and code words in his tepid affirmation for SFFD having signed-off on the project, but in the end this has been legislated and short of a disaster once the paint goes down, should happen as planned.

    All the hot air in the world, and even in SF, cannot reverse a decision by the Board of Supervisors.

    I have to say, Supervisor Christensen’s comments at the end were very unifying and conciliatory towards all the various views, yet still stuck to the facts — people are routinely getting killed and injured by cars, and The City and its citizens are responsible for bringing that sorry state of affairs to an end. Bulb-outs will help in that endeavor.

  39.  

    gb52

    Well isn’t that interesting… We need warnings that cars run in the streets and we need parked cars (that at some point was also moving) to protect us… NOPE. (really, we should not need to be protected from cars!!) You’re better off slowing cars down and creating more space for pedestrians. The restaurants all want their sidewalk seating, but imagine what would happen if there was more sidewalk. Room to actually walk! There is plenty of room for improvement, and better walking conditions are definitely one of them.

    Parking is only a problem if you CHOOSE to drive there. I choose not to. There are a number of transit options and walking is great in that area.

    In any case the bulb outs are not the problem, it’s the cars!!

  40.  

    murphstahoe

    It’s just freaking annoying that Uber and Lyft didn’t just take care of this in the first place. There is no love lost for cabbies in SF other than by cabbies. So here was this wide open business opportunity, they walked through the door, we welcomed them in, but there was no need to act like jerks.

    They are basically foisting off all this work onto the state/cities. What a pain.

  41.  

    mx

    In this discussion, I think people often ignore the fact that Lyft and Uber didn’t magically become popular by themselves. These services became massively popular in SF because many thousands of people were looking for a better way to get around. People didn’t just choose them because they can be cheaper than taxis; we choose them because they work. As a result, what’s left of the SF taxi industry has developed Flywheel (which still doesn’t come remotely close to cutting it, in the times I’ve used it, but they get a point for trying) and worked to step up their game.

    Uber and Lyft aren’t going to go away because you happen to dislike them or you disapprove of the way they entered the market. They are here providing transportation options for a lot of people. Wringing our hands over these services as if they were somehow inflicted upon us, rather than something we’re choosing to use, isn’t helpful. There are plenty of areas we’re still trying to solve around fair compensation for drivers, workers’ comp, insurance (though California has done a lot on this), safe places to pick-up/drop-off passengers, providing accessible services for the disabled, etc… I’d much rather focus on making sure the system works as well as it can in these areas than arguing over whether it should exist at all.

  42.  

    Jim

    North Beach, where there is a glut of parking spaces in the 4 multi-level garages and 3 surface lots within 3 blocks of each other. However, the supposed residents would much rather “support” neighborhood businesses by circling for 30 minutes to search for free parking rather than spending 5 to park their car and another 10 to walk to the businesses. I wonder where Aaron Peskin stands on this project, as the study began during his time on the BOS.

  43.  

    Kris

    Just want to add a few anecdotal data points on behalf of myself who has lived in the Outer Richmond for about 7 years:

    1.) Cabs NEVER come out to this neighborhood. Before apps like Uber, if we tried to call a cab, it would either take 30-40 minutes to show up or it just wouldn’t show up at all and there would be NO WAY of knowing either way. Uber shows up for me in 5-7 minutes of less, every single time. (been using the app for a few years now)

    2.) If we tried to use one of those apps that would hail the nearest cab, it would never work because no cabs would be circulating out here.

    3.) If I was in a more cab dense area like downtown, drivers would often keep the doors locked and ask me where I was heading before letting me in. When I said Outer Richmond it was not unusual for them to just plain say no.

    P.S. It used to cost me about $30-35 to get across the city in a cab to or from my neighborhood, in an Uber it costs $7 if you pool, $15 if you go private. (both driving times being the same if you don’t count time spent just trying to get the cab)

  44.  

    94110

    Update: Soft hit posts. Two corners at 20th.

  45.  

    jk

    In my experience the mix of drivers varies a lot by neighborhood and time of day. Former taxi drivers often “stake out” the hotels near Union Square hoping to land a lucrative SFO fare, for instance, knowing it’ll pay very well (plus they can almost always get a return fare into the city).

  46.  

    Jame

    Not that many of the uber/lyft drivers are former cab drivers. They exist, but I find one optimistically 10% of trips. Far too often I get someone who barely knows there way around the city.

  47.  

    94110

    South Van Ness just got painted limit lines, and strange bulbout like regions at 20th, 21st and 22nd. Maybe other intersections too.

    Both the bulbouts and the limit lines are painted with 1′ wide white thermoplastic. Also, the bulbouts only seem to be on one corner per intersection.

    Obviously I’m pretty confused. Is this a new treatment?

  48.  

    jk

    The data *is* being released; it’s just not being released to municipal officials. Re-read this part of the article more closely:

    “Kate Toran, the SFMTA’s director of taxis and accessible services, said that any data submitted by Lyft or Uber to government agencies is ‘under seal,’ meaning it’s not available to the public or city transportation planners.”

    Uber and Lyft are regulated at the *state* level by the Public Utility Commission, as is every other ground transportation company in the state. In accordance with state law, TNCs have to supply the CPUC with a VAST amount of data of all types, including detailed trip data. Taxi companies have long had to provide these same types of data sets with the agency, and TNCs must as well. When Uber *attempted* to wiggle out of providing the data last year, an administrative law judge threatened to hold the entire company in *contempt* AND revoke their operating license! (Needless to say, they quickly backtracked.)

    In any event, it’s the CPUC’s call whether to require TNCs to supply data to cities as well as themselves, and for whatever reason they’ve elected not to.

  49.  

    jk

    “They’re operating illegally in a number of ways in many international jurisdictions.”

    Uber is up and running in 57 COUNTRIES. They’ve encountered regulatory challenges in FOUR. Even if you stretch the word “many” to its utmost limit, it still doesn’t work.

    “I’d be willing to bet…”

    Translation: you’re making wild-ass guesses based on *no* actual proof.

    “There’s just *no way* that they would be valued at $50B if that was their primary business model.”

    Please. Snapchat is valued at nearly $20B – and they have NO REVENUE WHATSOEVER. Uber, in contrast, provides over a MILLION rides PER DAY, and takes a 20% commission from each. In any event, attempting to divine the valuation methodologies of Silicon Valley VC firms is a fool’s errand, seeing as there is *no* real logic behind it.

    “they’re just refusing to share it with regulators. Did you read the article? The headline, even?”

    Yes, but *you* appear to have missed the part that their trip data IS shared with STATE agencies — specifically, the California Public Utility Commission, which regulates all ground transportation in the state — to ascertain both their impact on traffic levels and to ensure that they are not engaging in “redlining” (in a nutshell, refusing service to racial minorities). Yes, this information is under seal and not shared with the SFMTA or any other city-level agency, but it IS in the hands of the primary arbiter of ground transport in the state.

    “There’s a reason why the number of taxis licensed to be on the road is regulated by basically every major city in the western word”

    Indeed there is, but it has absolutely *nothing* to do with ANY of the four reasons you cited. Taxis were originally regulated as a means of consumer protection, but much like, say, the Teamsters, good intentions eventually transmogrified into corruption, graft, and forgetting the entire *point* of why they were instituted in the first place. The *only* city that heavily regulates taxis on an environmental basis is NYC; all new taxi vehicles put into service must be chosen from a list consisting entirely of hybrid vehicles.

    “You did get at least one thing right – I do want to ‘slam the “sharing economy”‘ because it’s a sham. There is no ‘sharing’ here, it’s selling.”

    Actually, I completely agree. I don’t know who coined this ridiculous term, but “sharing economy” is total bullshit. And no, I haven’t been “fooled” by anyone, and I’m certainly not a “paid shill.” I happen to be an analyst (no, not in the financial sector), and one of the areas I cover is TNCs; that’s explicitly why I know most of what’s being said about them is total bullshit.

    The stupidest part is that there are plenty of REAL reasons to criticize them! Not one of the TNCs offers workers’ comp insurance. Not one of them offers drivers anything other than liability insurance; if they’re in a wreck on the job, they can only hope and pray that their employer will cover collision/repair costs. Uber has one of the fastest burn rates (the rate at which their VC funding is spent) of any startup in GLOBAL HISTORY, despite the fact that the main *point* of their business model is ostensibly the fact that it’s supposed to be extremely low-overhead. There’s been virtually *no* analysis in the media of the fact that they’re gearing up to go head-to-head with Google in the self-driving car space, and that EVERY indicator points to Google beating the living shit out of them in it! Uber’s valuation means virtually nothing considering the amount of ACTUAL LIQUID CAPITAL Google can readily access. Then there’s the not-so-small fact that Google has perfected GPS-based mapping AND self-driving cars, and the *only* major attempt to compete with them on that score — when Apple replaced Google Maps on iPhones with its homegrown system — turned out to be one of THE biggest flops/epic-fails in Apple’s post-2000 history (and one of the *only* such flops).

    I’ll stop here, but I’ll conclude merely by noting that California already has *the* strictest air regulations in the *world*, and as such all cars sold in the state today have virtually nonexistent emissions. That goes doubly so for hybrids, which in California comprise the majority of TNC fleets across the state. Pollution is thus not a terribly strong argument with which to attack Uber or any other TNC, and in terms of larger importance, California has VASTLY BIGGER problems (like, oh, running out of water and stuff).

  50.  

    jk

    There is a vast world of difference between “making end runs around existing laws” and the fact that no existing laws *fit* their service offerings. Moreover, in EVERY completed case to date, city and/or state officials have AGREED with Uber and Lyft that they do not fit extant definitions for any means of ground transportation, and thus the passage of new ordinances and statutes regulating them *is*, in fact, necessary.

    Furthermore, your mafia comparison is patently absurd. Mafia companies are mostly fronts for money-laundering operations. Uber and Lyft … provide inexpensive car services! Oh, the horror!! They are not “deceiving” anyone with anything, nor have they been accused of such (except by self-interested taxi interests and conspiracy-theorist lunatics).