01:47 AM

SF Taxi Drivers Union Expanding As Uber And Lyft Take Toll On Fares


The newly formed San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance (SFTWA) is looking for a boost this evening (Sept. 9) with a recruitment drive and rally at the Plumbers Union Hall, 1621 Market Street, at 6.30pm. Speakers include Bhairavi Desai, president of the National Taxi Workers Alliance, and Tim Paulson, President of the San Francisco Labor Council.

The theme is: "Fight Uber! Fight Lyft!" Taxi drivers are urged to bring five friends each, and to become a member of the Alliance at $100 per year for non-medallion holders and $200 for those with medallions.

Taxi drivers are reporting large drops in earnings of as much as 60%. They say that their $1 million insurance costs them $10,000 a year, and that Uber and Lyft are making money from avoiding the costs of insurance and other regulatory burdens such as background checks -- the backgrounds of taxi drivers are constantly monitored.

San Francisco taxi drivers have answered critics that they don't take credit cards and now fines are levied against cabs that won't take plastic. There is also an app, Flywheel which acts the same as Uber and Lyft to hail cabs and also pay the fare.

The SFTWA was formed recently after 150 taxi drivers unanimously voted to unionize in mid-August.