Gafurov's private taxi was operating as a "partner" of Uber, which is how the company defines its relationship to the network of drivers on its website. No private taxis or drivers are considered to be employees of Uber, as the company has repeatedly maintained, claiming that the drivers, and their actions, are not its responsibility.
Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes told us repeatedly that drivers are not employees of the rideshare company: "Our legal team took a look at the files you sent. This is not an 'Uber' driver, they're not employed by us. They're employed by their licensed and insured limousine company." (Joe Fitzgerald)
MAKING CABS BETTER
For all the (justified) grumbling about the business models of ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber, the so-called ridesharing revolution may prove to be a catalyst for a taxi industry overhaul.
"We're adding hundreds more taxis, and our board has approved regulations for each vehicle to provide real-time locational information," San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose told us.
"One of our goals is to move forward with making the data available to our customers to hail a cab with an app," Rose added, referencing a plan unveiled by the transit agency several weeks ago. Faced with stiff competition from random vehicles adorned with garish pink mustaches, the taxi industry is taking a stab at evolution, or at least imitation.
To be a cab driver right now, paying off the pricey medallion they must purchase in order to operate while oblivious new transplants rake in the cash without following the same set of rules, must be infuriating.
At the same time, let's be honest here: There's a reason people are ditching conventional cabs and climbing into cars with random strangers who may be beckoned with the tap of a smartphone. And it has nothing to do with passengers' sentiments about government regulation or newly minted tech millionaires.
The taxi industry lags far behind the lightning-speed reality many Bay Area residents have come to inhabit, but if it weren't for the competition, they might not have any incentive to change.
Rideshare services might be your quintessential rogue tech companies backed by nauseating sums of venture capital, but at the end of the day, people also want taxi service that does not suck. (Rebecca Bowe)
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