San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is seeking a court order to force both Uber and Lyft to share records on driver safety, disability access and other operations, in compliance with the city attorney’s subpoenas from last month.
The subpoenas, which Herrera issued on June 4, are an attempt for the city to ensure drivers for both companies are not creating “a public nuisance by jeopardizing public safety, discriminating or otherwise violating local and state laws.”
They specifically seek four years’ worth of records around driver miles and hours, incentives that encourage drivers to commute to San Francisco from other cities in order to get more rides, training, number of vehicles available for people with disabilities and routes driven.
According to the city attorney, Lyft tried to work with them but was “ultimately not willing to move forward with a satisfactory agreement, demanding unreasonable provisions,” the city attorney’s office wrote in a press statement. Uber, on the other hand, refused to cooperate at all, according to the city attorney’s office.
“It waited until the June 20 deadline to send a letter telling the city it was declining to produce the information but would be available to ‘meet and confer regarding Uber’s concerns,’ ” according to the city attorney’s office. “After that, Uber representatives were slow to meet, late to respond and then non-committal. They have failed to comply with the subpoena.”
Last month, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that Uber and Lyft drivers make up 15 to 20 percent of San Francisco’s traffic during the week. The concern is that Uber and Lyft’s estimated 45,000 drivers in San Francisco are having a negative impact in the city, so Herrera wants to better assess what’s going on, as well as ensure both companies are following the law.
“Unfortunately, Uber is doing what it always seems to do: raise obstacles and drag its feet— all while continuing to flout the law,” Herrera said in a statement. “To its credit, Lyft was more responsive, but in the end they also raised unreasonable roadblocks. They provided a minimal amount of documents before deciding not to comply with the rest of our request. And they have so far failed to execute a confidentiality agreement that would protect any legitimate trade secrets.”
Update 12:49pm PT with comment from Uber: “We are working with the City Attorney’s Office to better understand their concerns,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch via email. “We informed them that we are willing to provide them information to address those concerns. We hope to come to an agreement on the handling of confidential information and we are committed to working together on these important issues.”
In a statement from a Lyft spokesperson, the company says it’s working to take a collaborative approach with Herrera.
“Even as recently as last night, we were in the middle of productive conversations,” the spokesperson said. “But demanding enormous amounts of people’s private information – more than has ever been requested by any other city in which we operate – while refusing to take basic steps to protect this personal data is unprecedented, baffling and simply a step too far. We remain open to working with City leaders willing to take a holistic approach to improving transportation in San Francisco.”
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