San Antonio Police Watching For New Public Menace: Lyft Drivers
Out of all of the issues that people who drive for ride-sharing services might have, we didn’t imagine this one: wondering whether your next passenger is a cop. Yet Lyft drivers in San Antonio received that warning from the city’s chief of police. Could other cities where these apps are doing battle with governments that regulate taxi medallions do the same?
“This is why we can’t have nice things,” wrote reader Matt when he told us about this situation in San Antonio. His city’s police chief doesn’t think that what Lyft is doing is very nice at all: he thinks that the service is potentially dangerous. “The problem with this is the public is put in danger,” San Antonio Police Chief McManus explained to media outlets. “You don’t know who is going to show up. You don’t know what condition the car is going to be in.”
McManus says that the city has sent a “strongly worded cease and desist letter” to Lyft, which recently expanded to San Antonio and has been recruiting drivers. The company didn’t become a licensed taxi company in the city, and its drivers aren’t licensed taxi drivers.
Ride-sharing services do require detailed photos of the cars that drive for them, but can’t guarantee that the vehicle pictured is the one that will show up on your doorstep. If you listen to local cab companies, though, the apps are sending out jalopies on the verge of collapse, driven by some random person. “Would you want one of your family members getting into an old car that’s not inspected, and the driver doesn’t have any type of credentials or any type of driving background experience, to transport you and charge you an outrageous amount?” the president of a local cab company asked TV reporters from KENS.
Which is odd, actually, because Lyft tells prospective drivers that they’re in for a background check, driving record check, phone and in-person interviews.
The good news for police is that Lyft vehicles attach a pink moustache to the front of their cars while on duty, so that will theoretically make drivers even easier to spot. While California is working with ride-sharing services, Texas apparently isn’t quite there yet.