Dealing with the faux cabs

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Lots of comments on my article outlining the problems with the fake cabs that are riding around town without medallions or proper screening. The main complaint the trolls have appears to be their dislike of cab drivers and the difficulty of getting a cab in some places and at certain times. I've never had a bad experience with an SF cab driver in 30 years of living here and taking cabs, but I'm sure there are others who have; no industry is perfect.

My main concern is that the cab interlopers are lying and cheating -- insisting that they don't have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Somebody in one of the comments said that there's nothing wrong with "ride shares," and it's true that everyone from Craigslist to Caltrans has some verison of a ride board, and it's not uncommon for casual carpools to share gas costs.

But that's not what Lyft and Uber etc. are doing. They're private businesses, set up with venture capital backers, with the aim of making a profit by ferrying passengers around cities. That's the definition of a taxicab business. If these were just casual shared rides, there would be no business model and they wouldn't have investors.

I'll tell you how we can settle the issue quickly. How about all of us who need a ride around town contact Lyft, get a lift, and then voluntarily pay nothing. Or just offer the price of gas -- $4.50 a gallon, most of these cars get 25 miles to the gallon, most rides around town are five miles or less, so that would be 90 cents.

Passengers get profiles on the system, just like drivers. Anyone who does that will quickly find it impossible to get rides. Which will demonstrate that this isn't ride-sharing, it's commerce. And while I'm all in favor of competition, everyone should play by the same rules.