Even if your Lyft driver isn't trying to get in your jeggings with a fake cancer diagnosis, West Coast ridesharers face a new threat: citizen arrest.
CBS News reports there have been at least seven such arrests at SFO this month alone, after months of companies like Uber and Sidecar quasi-legally being summoned to the airport via iPhone. Now, airport staff is enforcing SFO's "unlawful trespassing" take on ridesharing, and companies are taking notice.
One Lyft driver told me the startup told "drivers months ago to stop going [to SFO]," while "Sidecar has told drivers to continue but just make sure people sit in the front seat" to create the illusion of friendship. Sidecar also beamed out the following email warning to its drivers:
UPDATE ON SFO RIDES
Hello Sidecar drivers!
We've heard rumblings that there may be increased enforcement actions at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and media is reporting a citizen's arrest of a Lyft driver. As you all know, SFO recently issued us, Lyft, Uber and other ridesharing companies a Cease and Desist, claiming that ridesharing was not authorized to operate on SFO property. Over the past several months, we've been working diligently with the California Public Utilities Commission to work out a ridesharing solution for this issue. We are also in talks with SFO to allow ridesharing while we wait for the decision from the PUC.
We want to let you know that we are working hard to get this situation resolved ASAP. In the meantime and until the situation is resolved, we are advising that you avoid trips to SFO.
Where, when, and who you drive has always been up to you. As you know, Sidecar does not employ, direct, or dispatch drivers to pick up or take any passenger. Should you decide to rideshare with someone whose pickup or destination is SFO, we will be unable to pay any fines, provide legal assistance, or otherwise assist you in light of the Cease and Desist and our operating agreement with the PUC. Therefore, these rides are totally up to you.
Hopefully, SFO's attitude towards ridesharing will change soon, and when it does, you can be sure we'll update you immediately!
As always, if you have any questions, please shoot them over to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, and ride on!
The Sidecar Team
Will Silicon Valley have to start taking real taxis again, or get an actual, unpaid friend to provide rides to the airport? These are uncertain times.