SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey have sent letters to ride service companies Sidecar, Uber and Lyft, claiming they are operating illegally and warning them about possible legal action if they don't change their practices.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the two district attorney offices have conducted a joint investigation into the ride service companies and found a number of practices that violate California law.
"We value innovation and new modes of providing service to the public; however we need to make sure that the safety and well-being of consumers are adequately protected in the process," said Gascon in a statement.
Among the claims – that the companies misled customers by claiming their background checks of drivers screen out anyone who has committed driving violations, including DUIs, as well as sexual assault and other criminal offenses. They also told the companies their new shared ride service fares are calculated in a way that violates state law.
Officials from Uber and Lyft have not commented. Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul did share the information in a blog post Thursday, as the company has started a Change.org petition to ask the California Public Utilities Commission and the district attorneys to end their campaign to shut down the companies.
"Overzealous regulators, acting under pressure from big taxi companies, are trying to shut us down. Shared Rides are great for California because they are safe and very affordable, cut down on traffic congestion and reduce pollution. Shared Rides are like an instant carpool – we match you with a nearby rider heading your way for just a bit more than the bus. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the San Francisco and Los Angeles County District Attorneys (DA) offices say that Shared Rides are illegal and want Sidecar, Lyft and Uber to stop connecting people to share rides! Remember, a year ago, we all joined together to fight for ridesharing and we won. Now people are rallying together to save Shared Rides," Paul wrote in the blog post.
According to the Chronicle, the companies have been asked to respond to the letters by Monday and meet with representatives of the district attorney offices by October 8, or they will face legal action.
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