California Regulators tell Uber and TNCs to stop illegal airport pick-ups and Europe taxis strike

Transportation Network Companies (TNC) is a new acronym I learned today after several news stories about the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordering Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other on-demand ride companies to cease illegal pickup and drop-off services at airports in California.

Here is the letter sent to Logan Green, CEO of Lyft headquartered in San Francisco. The action by the CPUC stems from a September 2013 rule adopted for the regulation of TNCs in California.

Operations at Airports: TNCs shall not conduct any operations on the property of or into any airport unless such operations are authorized by the airport authority involved.


Here are some of the complaints mentioned in the CPUC letter to TNCs. San Francisco Airport reported out of 300 contacts it had with TNC drivers, 70% did not display any ‘trade dress’, a display showing the car is affiliated with a TNC business. Numerous drivers did not have proof of insurance. Two drivers did not have valid California driver’s licenses. None of the TNC drivers have authorization to conduct business at airports.

I would like to express my disappointment and concern about this behavior. California is the first state that created rules for this industry to promote consumer choice, we will not, however, accept consumer choice at the expense of consumer safety.

June 10, 2014

Michael R. Peevey, President California Public Utilities Commission

The CPUC has given the TNCs two weeks to comply completely with current airport regulations or face the possibility of revoking TNC permits to operate in California. The letter also states CPUC investigative units will perform random audits of the TNCs.

Taxi Strikes in Germany, UK, Spain and France June 10, 2014

On the same day as the CPUC letter, there were numerous taxi strikes across Europe to protest the unfair competitive advantage TNCs have in many cities where heavily regulated taxi drivers with expensive licensing requirements are seeing their employment income drop in recent years.

In Spain the Minister of Public Works has warned users of TNC services they may be fined up to 600 euros and drivers up to 6,000 euros.

Uber responded by offering Uber users in Germany a 50% discount for rides yesterday and new users in London a 20 GBP discount on their first ride.

Last week a new round of venture capital for Uber resulted in the company’s new valuation at $18.2 billion.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. For years there have been “illegal” operators at airports for pickups. I was in Rome 2-3 years ago and the hustlers were waiting outside the departures exit offering their services and actually being forward enough to try to take your luggage to their vehicle. Their cars were parked about as far away as the Taxi Stand and in full view of the Taxi drivers and the local police. Through my research I knew about this before my landing and steered my wife and I away because I knew of the fixed price the actual taxi would have to charge vs. what the hustler was trying to charge. I am not saying that 100% the same thing, but it darn similar in that “non-regulated” drivers have been in this business in the major markets for years. They just did not advertise their services and have an app.

  2. I wish these ridiculous cab cartels would just come clean and admit they’re scared to death their mob-like license to print money is threatened. Using the licensing/safety angle is weak.
    I guess all game changing technologies get pushback, but this cab thing is pathetic and disingenious.

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