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SF Airport Officials Make Citizen Arrests of Internet Rideshare Drivers 510

Posted by Soulskill
from the sharing-is-caring-except-when-it's-apparently-illegal dept.
transporter_ii writes "In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said. Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to 'various offenders' since July 10. The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April. Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall Tuesday to 'keep taxis regulated and safe' and are calling for the end of ridesharing services."
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SF Airport Officials Make Citizen Arrests of Internet Rideshare Drivers

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  • Sharing is evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:25AM (#44432061) Journal

    The entertainment industry says so. It seems only reasonable to see others take up the cause. Parents who tell kids to share their toys should be arrested also. It's killing the Toys R us franchise.

  • by crossmr (957846) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:28AM (#44432085) Journal

    Is picking someone up at the airport an indictable offense?
    reason #8732 not to fly to the US...

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:31AM (#44432097)
    Meanwhile the world evolves and the dinosaurs think that by roaring louder they will divert the extinction that is free economy.
  • Re:What. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:55AM (#44432205)

    So from now on, there will only be one person in each car in the US?

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:57AM (#44432213)

    Regulations = safety... right?

    You declared it.

    You should have said
    Regulations == Safety.

    And here is where you need to understand the intent rather then the method. Regulations can be and are often used as important tools for safety, regulations prohibit engine destroying additives being added to fuel, encourage electrical systems to have devices that prevent electrocution, lower prices by fostering a single standard that is available for everyone.

    OTOH, regulations can be used for evil, to lock out competition and fix prices for example.

    So you cant say all regulations are evil without being extremely ignorant. It's the intent, not the method that determines if something is helpful or harmful.

    And yes, I've lived in a country with very few regulations... This makes building anything to be a full time job just making sure they put the plumbing and electrics in right, so the house doesn't burn down.. We're not even considering the time checking and chasing up on shonky plastering jobs.

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @02:58AM (#44432221)

    Regulations = safety... right?

    In most of Europe yes; the regulations are there in order to improve people's lives and especially safety. It is true that, in some places, people are able to change the regulations for their own profit or in ways that interfere with business. That is a symptom of failing democracy not that regulations are always bad. Your first priority must be to change your politicians. After that; once you have politicians who are trying to limit the regulations to the ones that actually matter, then is the time to start reducing the regulation which is getting in your way for no benefit.

    Very often, the alternative to regulations which make it clear what needs to be done and what is just an optional extra is lawsuits, which are even more costly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:11AM (#44432281)

    Why shouldn't someone else be able to pick up strangers for the cost of gas?

    Because all of the above costs exist for a reason. They didn't just get made up because it was fun to regulate taxi drivers, they're there to protect people getting into the back of cars with strangers driving them. If they don't fight it, it allows unregulated taxis to pop up all over the place, simply by repeatedly "offering a lift" at the airport, sidestepping the entire taxi regulation system.

    The whole thing is about protecting the taxi business from competition.

    No, the whole thing is about protecting people from ending up in the back of "taxis" that couldn't or wouldn't get through the tighter set of rules for operating a taxi over simply owning a car.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:25AM (#44432331)

    None of the reasons are of any value to me. If I want the safety of a regulated taxi, I'll take one. If I am willing to accept the risk of taking an unregulated one, where is the reason to disallow me to do that?

    Go to your boss and tell him you need to earn 100 bucks more for "union fees" and inform me of his reply, please. Especially if you keep screaming at him that non-union workers should be banned while he has you thrown out.

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:47AM (#44432393)

    Regulations == Safety.

    I'm not sure in the Airport and Taxi's are unions, but that would explain all of this. This is how unions operate, in groups, again if one or both are unions.

    In this case it isn't about Safety, it is about losing money.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:06AM (#44432495) Homepage

    At one point "often" might have applied. Now it applies perhaps in 1% of the cases where regulation is preventing something.

    Your post reads like you have absolutely no perspective, have chosen a side, and are completely focused on supporting that position. The idea that 99% of regulation isn't beneficial is absolute nonsense.
    When I came into work today in my car I benefited from regulation of air-bags, lighting, road markings, junction positioning, emissions, brakes, vehicle road worthiness and probably dozens, if not hundreds, of others.
    There are stupid regulations, just like there are stupid laws, but the exceptions should be dealt with rather than throwing the whole system out.

  • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:20AM (#44432529)

    OTOH, regulations can be used for evil, to lock out competition and fix prices for example.

    The taxi drivers assert that this is a safety matter. They claim that without well regulated taxi service people are going to get hurt riding in cars driven by who knows whom.

    I honestly can't say which of either taxi drivers or random ride share people are a greater threat. I just know the GP wasn't wrong pointing out that this brand new 'outrage' has its basis in regulation, whether the little statist neck beards around here like it or not.

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:34AM (#44432579)

    That is a hugely sweeping assertion that requires some justification. Do you have any statistical evidence to back it up, or are you speaking from sheer prejudice?

    There is a huge amount of regulation. Which means that if only a very tiny bit of regulation is bad, there is a lot of bad regulation. But to generalise from the fact that there is a lot of bad regulation to the idea that 99% of regulation is bad is the sloppiest of sloppy thinking.

    From you statement, for example, road safety regulations are a waste of time, as are all those for any other form of transport. There is an incredible amount of aviation safety regulation - are you happy to repeal 99% of it? Which 1% of poisonous chemicals do you want still banned? Are you happy to deregulate your local nuclear power plant, so it can be run by the workers willing to accept the lowest pay? And, of course, get rid of all those regulations intended to keep politicians at least a little hinest - sell political office to the highest bidder.

  • by Sique (173459) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:00AM (#44432677) Homepage
    Non-traditional houses means you don't have any experience how this construction will be in shape in five, ten or fifty years time. But normally, houses exists that long. And the regulations in place try to make sure of that. Constructing houses is a complex problem, and each new construction might have hidden problems which only appear after a few years. I remember the breaking down of the roof of a ice skating hall here around, where several factors contributed to the accident (which left about a dozen people dead).
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:35AM (#44432811)

    That would depend on the definition of a "good" regulation. You seem to cite the airbag regulation as a bad thing. Yet what was the alternative? When they first came out many countries were struggling to get passengers to buckle up. Killing a few lighter passengers vs not saving a large proportion of the population that fails to follow another regulation is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Just like our building codes where I live say nothing about earthquake hardening. Though if an earthquake were to hit now and kill thousands of people would that be a failed regulation? No it would likely be an edge case given the historical lack of earthquakes.

    Also with lane markings you're getting regulations and best practices convoluted. Best practice is to include lane markings on the road. Where they are included they need to follow the regulations which dictate what they will look like.

  • by Kneo24 (688412) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:51AM (#44432877) Homepage

    I was going to use my mod points in this thread, but I tire of seeing people like you complain about the moderation.

    Look, mod points are supposed to be used to bring about conversation to the top, whether you agree with it or not. If you see a comment that is, or has sparked debate, moderate it to the top so discussion can continue. That is the whole point. The fact that you don't know this means that you more than likely have never gotten mod points. Every time you get them, it gives you a link to the guidelines.

    So the fact that something is moderated to 5 doesn't mean anything other than a few people thought the comment deserved to be promoted to the top to encourage more discussion.

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @06:29AM (#44433011)

    Can you clarify: you are happy to take the risk of an incident which will leave millions dead, and cost trillions in property damage, and depend on financial restitution after the accident? You say you wouldn't live near it: a serious nuclear accident could pollute 1/3 of the US (Chernobyl polluted Scotland): three such plants and you have to leave the country. Do you know how open-cast mining companies have managed to manipulate such a system? An initial company opens the mine, extracts the coal and gets the profits, then as the mine is coming to the end of its life, transfers it to a shell company which has no assets. When the time comes to close the mine and rehabilitate the land, the company goes bust, with no resources to do the job their long-distant predecessors started. Ditto with pollution (Love Canal etc). Have you not heard of Bhopal - how many of them (a) got financial restitution, and (b) would not far rather have healthy lives than any financial payback? The law should prevent this, you say? Would you bet your life against the lawyers and political favours that a significant slice of a ten billion dollar profit can buy? And do you really think money can compensate for human lives? Will you sell permits to murder - which is essentially your proposition?

    How much time are you willing to spend researching before going into a burger bar? Remembering that the burger chain owners will be spending significant amounts of money whitewashing their reputation and attacking those who say their food is dangerous even if it isn't. There is a proven history over millennia of big guys screwing consumers, often fatally, and getting away with it. Before food regulations were instituted in London, approximately 10% of food sold was actively dangerous (flour padded out with white lead) and more than 80% was adulterated (bread padded out with chalk). The profits from "getting away with it", and the ease of providing a fall guy to take the heat if you don't, are irresistible to the small percentage of the population who are actively dishonest - and then the majority who are trying to compete with them have to do the same and go bust.

    Big business, due to simple financial muscle, can always outgun the little guy. The only solution the little guy has is to gang up together: all together we have the muscle to match business. Such a ganging-together of all the little guys is called a "government".

    I can only conclude that you are completely ignorant of the law of the past 200 years if you have such a naive trust in post-facto restitution, and ignorant of advertising if you trust on reputation to warn of bad providers. That worked in a medieval village. It didn't work even in a medieval town, let alone an industrial country with tens of millions of businesses,

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @06:38AM (#44433047)

    Regulations == Safety.

    I'm not sure in the Airport and Taxi's are unions, but that would explain all of this. This is how unions operate, in groups, again if one or both are unions.

    In this case it isn't about Safety, it is about losing money.

    This is also how companies operate. In my town, union is a 4-letter word, but any time private transportation companies are involved, they collude to keep out newcomers.

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bravoc (771258) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:30AM (#44433271) Journal

    "regulations prohibit engine destroying additives being added to fuel"

    Um..... no: http://www.cycleworld.com/2013/07/05/everything-you-need-to-know-about-ethanol-fuel-and-your-motorcycle [cycleworld.com]

  • by Chickan (1070300) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:11AM (#44433491)

    Your quoting airbags reminded me - the first generation of airbags were dictated by the government to be set up to do a lick of good for an unbuckled passanger. As a result they detonated with such force they killed lighter people (children and small females).

    Is the street lighting, road markings, and junctions a result of regulations or industry 'best practices'?

    While airbags were a bit off the mark to start, the goal and intent were correct and eventually got us where we are today. Airbags have saved many many more lives than they have taken, so I'm willing to take the growing pains as a society to get to where we are today.

    As for best practices, how many cities are willingly putting up more street lights? Or repainting roads to make the markings clear? Most of these things the cities/states are required to do. If we got rid of all regulations, we would be fucked. What incentive would a city or state have to fix anything? Why wouldn't a business just dump waste into streams and lakes that feed your drinking water? Its faster/cheaper/easier so it would happen over night.

    I hate red tape just as much as the next guy, and I spend a good chunk of my time at work filling out "TPS" reports, but these systems are in place to keep douchebags (people/corporations) from doing what comes naturally to them, screwing us all over. As far as the story goes, I like the idea of rideshare, and can see how taxis are getting pissed, but is that the best thing our police departments can be doing, investigating and ticketing normal people over stepping on a taxi drivers toes?

  • by Zak3056 (69287) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:36AM (#44433657) Journal

    I don't know where you live, but at least in the U.S., pretty much all building codes say that if an engineer has designed it, so it will be. No problems with non-traditional houses, as long as you've got someone competent to design it.

    Says the man who has never met a county building inspector. It doesn't matter if code explicitly states that something is permissible--if they don't personally understand it, it doesn't meet code. If they don't like the practice, it doesn't meet code. If they had a fight with their wife that morning, their kid hates them, and the dog just bit them, it doesn't meet code.

  • by doggo (34827) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:44AM (#44433701) Homepage

    I'm pretty sick of hearing the same old tired bullshit from conservatives and libertarians about how regulations, unions, and taxes are so awful.

    You can always find some instance of where a given regulation is bad, a union is over-reaching, or taxation is burdensome. But these three things, regulations, unions, and taxes, define civilization as we know it in the contemporary U.S.

    Regulations (laws) and the regulatory agencies were demanded by the people and put into place to protect citizenry from consistently ethics-challenged business world. Likewise unions. Business, it turns out, cares more about turning a profit than the health, safety, and welfare of you, your family, employees, and the environment we all live in. If you don't threaten to throw 'em in jail, or subject them to penny ante fines and public humiliation, businesses will happily bait and switch your ass to death. They'll pay you starvation wages to work in situations as dangerous as the most dangerous situation you can imagine. And dock your pay if you're late.

    For every bad regulation you come up with, there are a thousand that have saved your life in the last week. For every non-union shop that you claim is fair and treats its employees fairly and looks out for their safety there are a thousand people on disability from preventable industrial accidents.

    And taxes help pay for those life-saving regulations. And roads. And bridges. And schools. And police and fire departments, health departments, public parks, libraries, universities, basic research, the arts, THE MILITARY... Need I go on?

    And for every onerous tax you mention, there are a thousand benefits you've personally reaped in services and infrastructure paid for by our taxes.

    So I don't want to hear about how bad government regulation is, or that unions're bad, mmm'kay? Or that we shouldn't pay taxes. If you don't want to participate in our society and partake of the benefits, fucking move someplace where you don't have to suffer those "burdens".

    I hear Somalia doesn't have personal income tax...

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:51AM (#44433783)

    This exactly demonstrates corrupt government in action

    FTFY. Not all government action is a scam perpetrated by corrupt scumbags. This may be hard to believe in Detroit, but there are actually towns in the U.S. where the city government actually works FOR the people, and isn't just populated by thieves and their friends and relatives.

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:00AM (#44433875)

    No, there are several competing taxi services and any company that wants to start a taxi company can start a service. I don't know about SF in particular but in some cities there are many independent operators as well. What they all have in common is that they work within the existing regulations according to a common set of rules. Those rules were put in place to make the competition fair and to protect customers.

    Now these new companies are coming in and saying essentially, "The rules don't apply to us because we're special.," or, "Fuck the rules." The government is saying otherwise. There's a process for changing laws if people think they are outdated.

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:03AM (#44433933) Homepage
    That's because, for all practical purposes, unions are corporations who supply labor by (usually exclusive) contract. The same incentives to collude exist for them as for any other company. If you don't accept their contract on their terms, every other union will oppose you and impede business.
  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rot26 (240034) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:14AM (#44434039) Homepage Journal
    any company that wants to start a taxi company can start a service

    You're really naive. Why don't you start Shavano's Taxi in NYC? Think you can? Taxi service is highly regulated everywhere. The prices are set by the local authorities, who have the ability to deny licensing to anybody they want to. It's a rigged game.
  • Re:What. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:27AM (#44434189)
    Except that they are not charging the drivers with operating an illegal taxi service (or any of the slightly different similar possible charges). They are charging the drivers with trespassing. Which means that this is merely the airport trying to get a cut of the money, rather than anything to do with any of the excuses used to justify the regulation of taxis.
  • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:47AM (#44435241)

    I'm going to preface this by saying I'm using the term "regulation" in this post to mean "government regulation". Private entities impose regulations on member companies all the time, and I have no issue with it. This response is a rebuttal only to the idea of "government regulation". Is there regulation that specifies network architectures? Is there regulation that says TCP/IP is the backbone of the Internet? Is there regulation that says USB is the standard method of connection for a whole slew of devices? Information Technology is the most UNregulated industry in the world....it also happens to be the fastest growing (for decades now) and the most diverse in terms of job opportunities and applications to customers. Regulations are ALWAYS about protecting a preferred interest, never about safety. The old addage is "you get what you pay for". If you pay for something that has an inherent lack of safety, but it's cheaper, and you get more customers than the guy that charges a higher price for the safe product...who do you think is going to demand the regulation? The customers certainly aren't, they are obviously happy with the less safe product, else they wouldn't buy it. The only person that would scream for safety regulation is the one knows he can drive his competition if his competitor were FORCED to meet the same standards. You cite air-bags, lighting, road markers, etc. as regulations you "benefit" from. Are you telling me that if not for regulations cars would wander aimlessly through the dark on dirt paths? This is absolutely ludicrous and is simply a "who will build the roads?" argument. It stems from a belief that without forced coercion at the point of a gun that people would not provide a quality product (and if roads and general safety were products to be sold instead of given away after stealing from others, they would be quality...to those that purchase them). Life is about risk management. No one can be 100% safe all the time. It is incumbent upon the individual to take the various risks in their own life and weigh those against the resources available to them. Some people don't trust elevators, they simply don't ride them, they take the stairs instead. It takes longer, thus it consumes their time. That is resource and risk management, and if you don't do it for yourself you're simply helpless and reliant on others to make decisions for you.

    Look, this is ridiculous. I am all for personal responsibility and I try to exercise it in my daily life. I ride a motorcycle for crying out loud, I need to be personally responsible. So I agree that people need to think about what they are doing and consider the consequences.

    But our modern world is too complex to have people weighing every decision. I don't have time to make sure that every restaurant I eat at has clean facilities. Are we all supposed to inspect the kitchen ourselves? I can't personally verify that the apartment building I live in was properly built, or that the airbags in my car will work properly and only when they are needed, or that the taxi I'm riding in has been properly maintained, or that the medicines I'm taking are safe and effective. And if I find that any of these are not the case, I don't have the resources to correct them. I can take my money elsewhere, but that's not incredibly effective; I'm a drop in the bucket.

    It would be great if we all had perfect information and could make rational choices based on our own sense of what is most important to us. Really, I would dig that. But the fact is we don't have the expertise or the resources to independently judge the entirely of the world around us. It's too big, and life moves too fast these days. We need regulations to make sure basic standards are being met. Sometimes those regulations are used for anti-competitive goals, and I agree that's wrong. But to say regulations are ALWAYS about protecting a preferred interest, never about safety is not correct either.

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