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Update: SAPD Will Arrest Lyft Drivers

March 27, 2014



UPDATE: March 28, 2014, 4:15 p.m.

Mayor Julian Castro came out with in support of Lyft this morning, despite objections from the San Antonio Police Department. He posted his support in Facebook and Twitter.

We can make Lyft, Uber and similar services work in San Antonio. They need to meet strong standards for safety and quality (insurance, driver background checks, etc.), but they should be part of the equation. Figuring that out will take some time, but we’ll get it done. San Antonio is moving forward, not standing still.





San Antonio Police Chief William McManus really doesn’t want you to get in cars with strangers, especially those taking part in the sharing economy. SAPD issued a cease and desist yesterday to Lyft less than one week after the ride-sharing platform launched in San Antonio.

The company, which connects passengers with nearby drivers via its smartphone app, was ordered to suspend operations until it adheres to city’s taxi ordinances. Lyft drivers were also warned that they would be arrested for providing rogue taxi services, according to McManus.

“You might be one of these drivers who is summoned for a ride, and you won’t know who summoned you. It could be a police officer, and you’ll be in trouble.”

Lyft, along with Uber and Sidecar, is one of a number of San Francisco-based start-ups looking to disrupt the taxi industry by providing an on-demand ride-sharing alternative. The companies have faced fierce opposition in a number of cities from municipal governments and established taxi industries for providing an alternative transportation marketplace that sidesteps regulations. In 2012, Heyride, a similar ride-sharing start-up, was ordered to suspend operations in Austin for violating city code.

SAPD claims that Lyft presents a potential public threat by circumventing the strict regulations the city imposes on traditional taxi drivers. Operators are required to conduct background checks and drug tests on their employees. Regulated drivers must also register with the city and pass a test on their geographical knowledge of San Antonio. In addition, vehicles-for-hire are subject to inspection to ensure they meet operational standards, and city ordinances have established price controls and an official system of recourse for fare disputes.

So while McManus claims the city’s taxi industry is a safe space where stand-up citizens take passengers to and fro while charging reasonable fares, the picture he paints for Lyft is far more sinister, one fraught with all sorts of stranger danger.

“They are not regulated, and there is no advantage to getting into one of these cars, where you get into one of these cars and you don’t know what their background is.  The public is put in danger.”

Somewhere in between those lines, Lyft provides a lawless hellscape where passengers with a death wish put themselves in situations that are rife with the potential for price-gouging, rape and murder.

Not so, according to Lyft. (>>> next page)

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  • disqus_CKJa5X3WmC

    So if I see it right, the Chief of Police doesn’t want that I get in a car when I don’t know the driver. So he wants that I should NOT take a cab in San Antonio, as with Lyft, I see a picture of the vehicle and the driver even before I get picked up.

    Thank you Mr. McManus for understanding that Lyft is a safe alternative to the cab’s as you never know who is driving a cab.

  • Nina Giraffe

    Rogue. Not rouge.

  • Kathy Stuart

    I was in traffic behind an SA cab a couple of months ago. The driver was all over the road, almost causing three accidents in just the couple of miles I observed him. I would have tried to get the number and called the police but I didn’t want to get that close.

    Yeah….so much safer.

  • ashley

    The city is obviously profiting from the taxi industry… hence the need to criminalize drivers. Its stupid.

  • Law-Abiding Citizen

    Stupid moronic officious ignorant capricious idiot chief. I hate the police, and now I hate them even more. I’m going to use lyft now just because of this. F*** the police!

  • Chris

    In reference to the second paragraph, I believe you meant rogue taxi, not rouge taxi. Who wouldn’t like to ride in a red taxi?

  • JoAnna Wood

    When your city has been ranked the 7th drunkest city in America, you should be encouraging services like Lyft that make it easier for people to avoid driving drunk!

  • jerange jerange

    I use Uber and Lyft regularly during trips to San Francisco and Los Angeles. I’ve always been impressed by the personal story of each driver and the excitement and loyalty to their company. In both cities, they’ve the target of strong attempts to squeeze them out of business by City officials and the current taxi industry. But customers love them and both companies will figure a way to work around the critics and will succeed in some fashion.

  • chuckyCB

    Don’t get in car’s with strangers… unless they have a badge, that is!! Cuz every cop is a stranger to me and aren’t there people impersonateing cops?? IJS.. doesn’t SAPD have real criminal’s to catch? I have heard nothing on the news about anything happening to anyone because of this. I’d rather be in a car with a complete strangers than anyone that is associated with SAPD, How does the saying go ” Dont Drink and Drive” Taxis suck..half the time they don’t even show up!! Your servants of the people… not the parents of the people.

  • Ashley

    My younger brother was in a taxi one day. And he kept asking him if he had any older sisters. My younger brother never told thank goodness .

  • Victor Hemmati

    I use Lyft all the time.. I personal feel safer in a lyft then I do in a taxi cab in Houston.. Don’t ruin Lyft for everyone

  • SB

    The taxi drivers here are a little more more than just the right amount of not right… I would much prefer Lyft to a taxi here.

  • jd

    I would not get into a car with cops around here – too many recent cases of abuse of power and assault.

  • Jessica H

    I use Uber and Lyft on the west coast all the time and I love it! I was in Dallas using Uber a few months ago and the driver was telling me that the City of Dallas was trying to get UBER out because the Fire Department and a few city officials had invested portions of their retirements funds into Yellow Cab and the only reason they were able to stay in Dallas was due to consumer demand. I’m assuming something similar is the case in SA…

  • Free Thinker

    Come on Mr. McManus! SA has more pressing issues that require your attention. You’re acting like a small minded eastern bloc bureaucrat. This is more about protecting taxi companies than protecting the people. Let the people decide if Lyft is a good idea. We’ll vote with our dollars. We don’t need you to think for us!

  • Adriana Bella

    Oh and the public is not put in danger by your abusive police officers? Fuck off McManus. The world is changing and the likes of your corrupt organization will be out the door soon. It is time for the little man to have his day.

  • doesanyonesmellbacon?

    I am more interested in the police catching actual criminals… ya know, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, etc, rather than trying to dictate with whom I ride. “Protect and serve”? Hardly.

  • Joel Baumgartner

    Might as well shut down any other service that circumvents you having to use a Taxi. Like RUI, Via, Via RideShare, and any other form of carpooling.

  • Brako

    I believe that Lyft is a safe alternative to getting ripped off by taxi companies. Taxi companies take the long route and before you get in the car, you are already getting charged for BS!