Today marks a big victory for rideshare. We’ve reached an agreement with the California Pacific Utilities Commission (CPUC) that supports Sidecar’s continued operation in California and removes all citations and fines imposed against our company.
This agreement with the CPUC is seven months in the making. Even though the CPUC and Sidecar have shared goals for protecting safety and encouraging innovation, we felt it was important to wait to sign this agreement until it allowed us to work together while preserving the principles of rideshare. SideCar is a technology platform that enables peer-to-peer ridesharing and should not be regulated as if it’s operating a dispatch transportation service.
Thank YOU, our community of riders and drivers, for supporting Sidecar through this process. Your voice has helped us get to where we are today.
We have a vision to reinvent transportation through smartphones. We believe that one day you won’t need a car, because your phone is all you need to get around. This vision will only be realized if regulators open the door to innovation and innovators resist the status quo. This agreement between Sidecar and the CPUC is a win for California AND innovation.
We built Sidecar with the safety of our drivers and riders in mind. In fact, we have many safety measures in place that make Sidecar safer than taxis:
- $1 million dollar insurance coverage per incident
- Background checks on all drivers
- Zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy
- A rating system that makes it easy for you tell us what you love and what needs work
- A cashless experience – you pay with the app
- GPS tracking of rides and the ability to share your journey details with friends
When regulators and innovators work together people win. We look forward to continuing to work with officials in all nine cities we operate to reinvent transportation and make it cleaner, greener and better for our communities.
Ride On California!
Sidecar Technologies, Inc.
In March we received a cease and desist letter from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that cites SideCar and its drivers for operating illegally and without a permit at the airport. SideCar is 100% legal and we’ve responded with a letter clarifying what we do.
SideCar is a technology platform that enables peer-to-peer ridesharing. Our smartphone app matches people for shared rides. We’re not a taxi service – we don’t dispatch drivers to pick up or drop off passengers in any location, including SFO. SideCar drivers are regular, everyday people willing to give rides to people who need them. People pay what they want and drivers choose when they drive and where they go.
SideCar leads the movement to build a transportation sharing economy that results in a cleaner, greener and a more socially connected community. As the instant rideshare leader we’ve become a target for regulators who don’t understand what we do and are threatened by a disruptive technology that has the potential to reinvent transportation.
We’ve received letters to cease and desist in Philadelphia, Austin and California. Our driver community was a target of a sting operation in Philadelphia. We’ve sued the city of Austin for the right to continue rideshare there – a position we’re prepared to defend in court April 10. In California, we’re actively engaged with the California Public Utilities Commission to modify existing transportation regulations to accommodate smartphone app companies like SideCar.
We’re spent more than half a million dollars and countless hours defending our position to regulators and it’s a distraction. Big transportation problems face our nation. Rideshare is a great solution. SideCar has the potential to transform and offer a fundamentally different model for addressing critical environmental, economic and quality of life issues across our nation. We believe the right to share resources is an important principal for the entire sharing economy so we’re pushing on. We’re going to defend the right to share resources to regulators, in court, to SFO and anyone else who stands in the path of innovation.
CFO, SideCar Technologies, Inc.
We recently asked SideCar riders where they feel safer – a taxi or a ride connected by SideCar? A whopping 71% said they felt safer with SideCar than taxis. We think the reason is that government efforts to protect public safety haven’t kept up with the innovations of the Internet, social media and smartphone apps. SideCar provides a 10-point safety system that includes community feedback on drivers, GPS tracking of the vehicles, electronic background checks and our unique ability to share details of a trip with others.
SideCar responds to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
SideCar responded yesterday to the CPUC’s order to institute rulemaking on ridesharing “to protect public safety” and encourage technology innovation in transportation. In our comments and recommendations to the CPUC we argue that SideCar is not only safe, it’s safer than taxis and limos. We also point out that the current safety regulations for taxis and limos don’t appear to be based on data and are probably a result of historical, political and industry pressure. For example, did you know drug testing is not required to become a cab driver in San Francisco? Are you aware that a convicted felon can get a license to drive a limo in California because no background checks are required?
SideCar’s response yesterday lays the groundwork for the future of transportation. California is poised to become a global leader in the transportation information technology revolution but first we must figure out how to encourage innovation rather than stifle it. What works in California is often copied around the world, so these decisions have global implications. Here are highlights of our comments to the CPUC:
If you want safety, build community
Sidecar believes that the stronger our community, the better the safety. The SideCar community sets and enforces high standards for safety and quality. Drivers and riders rate one another and people with low ratings are removed from the SideCar community. We believe that by giving the community the capability to monitor itself we can build trust and safety to a level impossible to achieve through either the marketplace or government alone. The combination of these features and processes provides consumers with a greater degree of security and safety than taxi or limos.
A bright line needs to be drawn for rideshare
SideCar enables true rideshare because it is the only smartphone enabled transportation solution that requires destination at the start of a ride. Simply put, rideshare is not rideshare if the driver doesn’t first know where he or she is going. SideCar is the only service cited by the CPUC that enables its community to use the safe harbor of the ridesharing provisions because only SideCar requires destination from riders and shows it to drivers. Setting a maximum amount of money that can be earned would also provide clarity for drivers and insurers.
Destination builds safety and trust
Unique to SideCar is that both passenger and driver know where the car is headed. Drivers have peace of mind that they won’t be asked to drive somewhere they aren’t comfortable. Passengers have confidence that the driver knows where they are going. And because destination is required, riders can share where they’re going and live updates of their trip with someone else.
The good of the nation requires destination
Ridesharing reduces emissions that cause health problems and climate change, reduces traffic and makes more efficient use of publicly funded infrastructure. We only get these benefits if the driver can plan the trip, which requires destination from the rider. Without destination, a smartphone app for transportation is likely to increase emissions, congestion and overuse of public infrastructure.
SideCar has the potential to transform and offer a fundamentally different model for addressing critical environmental, economic and quality of life issues across California and our Nation. We are optimistic the rulemaking process will clarify the ridesharing law by drawing a bright line that distinguishes peer-to-peer rideshare platforms like SideCar’s and those companies who use smartphone technology to dispatch and provide transportation services.
SideCar Technologies, Inc.
This New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, as a way to surprise and delight a few lucky SideCar riders, we launched the first ever #SideBus. Cruising around SF and accepting random rides, the #SideBus was a completely complimentary affair and could carry up to 20 lucky folks. Here’s how things went, according to our intrepid #SideBus Captain/City Manager, Chris Dally, and his loyal crew Jeff and Sumeet:
The night started off with a bang when tons of drivers met us at the Safeway parking lot to grab party favors like Red Bull, water, mints, gum, etc… All fun stuff to hand out to riders (or keep for themselves). Our party favors went pretty quick but weere stocked with enough water, Red Bull, gum and rave sticks to satisfy everyone. It was cool — the drivers loved the bus and enjoyed the impromptu social gathering/NYE send-off. It was gonna be a big night… no better way start it off than to huddle up before heading out.
The #SideBus got rolling just after 7:30 PM and the first highlight occurred on our second trip when we accepted a first time SideCar user’s ride request. He just so happened to have moved from NYC three days earlier and had a crew of 12 friends with him. Needless to say, we changed this guy’s night. The surprise and excitement of his friends was palpable. We drove around for a while with them as they partied and even stopped off to pick up more of their stunned friends before ultimately dropping them off at their destination. This crew had a blast and so did we.
As we picked groups up throughout the night, we rolled through parts of town that were absolutely slammed with people… Mission, Marina, Hayes Valley, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf. I couldn’t count how many peeps turned and look and waved at the #SideBus as we crawled in traffic down the Embarcadero and on to Market 30 minutes before the fireworks were set off over the Ferry Building.
Just after midnight we picked up a girl who was by herself, stranded and freezing in her red party dress. We swooped by to get her and then drove over to the Marina and picked up 10 of her friends. During the ride over there, it was hard not to smile at how in shock and absolutely thrilled this girl was that a party bus had come to pick her up. Not only did we save her, but we turned her into a hero with her friends and put a big shining disco ball of light into her night.
The #SideBus cruised into the wee hours (4am to be exact) before retiring. Something tells me this won’t be her last voyage though.
Happy New Year All!
Hello San Francisco SideCar Community!
2012 has been an amazing year:
- The Mayans were wrong
- SideCar was born
- You showed the world that with instant ridesharing we really can help each other get around in a way that’s more fun, efficient and safe.
To ring in 2013, plenty of drivers in our community have told us that they plan to get behind the wheel on New Year’s Eve so that you can hit the town safely without having to worry about driving. ❤ To thank them, we decided to do them a huge favor:
For New Year’s Eve only – and in The San Francisco Bay Area Only – from 5pm-5am, as a way of saying thanks to those driving on NYE, we are going to suggest double the community average donation for each ride within the app. This means that a ride with a typical community average of $10 will say $20 on Monday night.
Here’s why we’re doing this:
- SideCar community drivers are not employed by SideCar or put on shifts of any kind. Going online on NYE (or any night) is completely up to them. Extra donations will help mobilize an army of designated drivers to help you get safely where you want to go on one of the busiest nights of the year for transportation.
- There are plenty of things to do on NYE besides drive… why not sweeten the pot a little for drivers to keep them stoked on getting people around.
- Extra donations = extra appreciation for awesome drivers lending a hand on a crazy night like NYE.
Of course, with SideCar what you donate is always up to you, and the community average is just there to help you decide. We just feel that on a night like New Year’s a little extra for drivers wouldn’t hurt. We hope you’ll feel the same way.
As for the surprise… we’ll be rolling out something a little bigger in San Francisco just for New Year’s Eve that will help you and your friends get around in real style. Follow us on Twitter @SideCarSF to find out what it is.
The SideCar San Francisco Team
Pleeeeease allow me to introduce myself…
What’s the good word, SF? My name’s Chris and I’ve joined SideCar as City Manager to help spread the awesomeness that is community ridesharing to the good people of San Francisco.
I’m pleased as punch (tickled pink?) to be working alongside a team that’s going gangbusters on pitting cutting edge technology with the game-changing concept of collaborative consumption. And it’s all in the name of improving the way regular ol’ folks like you and me move around cities. Seriously, the SideCar Command Center is humming with activity ’round the clock.
Not gonna lie… we’re fired up! We are mobilizing people in a way that’s not only cheap and super convenient, but also social and fun. There’s a positive connectivity we’re bringing back into the community that darn near melts ma’ heart.
So who is this person going around town getting all misty-eyed about ridesharing you ask? Well, first and foremost, I am a community driver myself. I love to drive and I’m always down to lend a helping hand. In fact, I love driving so much so that earlier in the year I got in my car and drove across the country from my old home in DC to my new one here in SF. I saw some beautiful sights along the way and came close to rupturing my larynx belting out songs in my playlists at the top of my lungs. I also can’t sit still. I’m a thrill seeker, adventure junkie, travel nut and diehard sports fanatic. Lastly, I’m a man of the people. People rule.
As City Manager, I’ll be engaging with the lovely community of ridesharers in SF, looking to strengthen and spread the sense of community we all feel. We’re here for each other… that’s what makes this all work. I’m also happy to be closely aligned with the SideCar support team, who dedicate themselves to providing world-class support day in and day out. This gang absolutely ROCKS.
There we have it. Feel free to get in touch with me on Twitter (@SideCarSF) with your ideas and stories from the road.
Your SideCar San Francisco City Manager