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SFMTA Blaming Uber And Lyft Drivers For Traffic Congestion

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The frequent bumper-to-bumper gridlock in San Francisco feels like it has only gotten worse lately, and now the SFMTA is laying the blame on rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.

In a recent regulatory filing by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to the California Public Utilities Commission, the SFMTA cited the many rideshare cars being used by Uber and Lyft drivers as causing traffic congestion and environmental issues.

"We understand there may be up to 45,000 drivers operating for Uber and Lyft in San Francisco," said SFMTA Taxi Director Kate Toran.

Meanwhile, the city has about 1,800 permitted taxis.

That number of Uber and Lyft drivers could grow. The California Public Utility Commission is considering a new rule that would allow Uber and Lyft drivers to use rental cars.

The SFMTA says when these cars driven by people working for Uber and Lyft – which are referred to as transportation network companies – first hit the streets, the companies insisted that they should not have to follow the same rules and regulations as taxis because the drivers are driving their own personal vehicles.

"If we add one or two or three taxis, we have to go through an environmental review," said Toran. "Conversely, they can add thousands upon thousands of Uber and Lyft TNCs to the streets with no environmental review.

Since one study shows San Francisco has the third worst traffic congestion in the country, the SFMTA is now asking the state to hold off on the concept of rideshare drivers using rental cars.

The SFMTA also wants to begin enforcing regulations on Uber and Lyft cars using the same inspectors who check out the taxis.

So far, there's been no comment from the rideshare companies regarding the filing by the SFMTA.

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