By Ryan Parker, September 25, 2014
Uber drivers, supporters protest at Uber offices in Santa Monica. The
group reached out to the Teamsters Local 986 to help form an association
for app-based drivers, including those who utilize the Uber, Lyft and
Sidecar technology platforms.
Ride-sharing companies have been targeted in Los Angeles and San
Francisco by authorities for conducting businesses improperly, even
dangerously, San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón confirmed to The
Times late Thursday.
Although Gascón would not specify which
companies were under investigation, he did say that it is more than one
and that authorities had been working the case for the past few months.
“We support new economy and technology, but we have an obligation to make sure the public is protected,” Gascón said.
According to Bloomberg News, the ride-share companies under investigation are Lyft Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Sidecar Technologies Inc.
Gascón sent letters to all three companies, Bloomberg reported.
“conversation” between authorities and the companies is going to occur
within the next few days, Gascón said. Depending on the outcome of the
talks, legal action may take place, he said.
“We want to make sure their behavior is corrected quickly,” Gascón said.
According to a letter
sent from Gascón's office to Sunil Paul, chief executive of Sidecar,
the company is accused of misleading customers about how thoroughly
criminal background and driving record checks are conducted, and must
remove all claims related to this matter on the company app and
the company is accused of violating the law by offering the "shared
ride" option, which allows strangers to split a single fare in order for
the car to use the HOV lane, according to the letter. Sidecar was
ordered to halt offering the option.
Ride-share companies offer
quick access to transportation through smartphone apps. There have been
criminal complaints about driver misconduct.
Gascón declined to comment further while the investigation is ongoing.