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The Metropolitan Transit System and San Diego Police Department are out with a joint statement cautioning residents about the unregulated nature of “ridesharing” services such as Lyft, allowing users to seek driving services from a source other than a city-permitted taxi, reported on by the Reader earlier this month.

From the release:

MTS, which enforces taxi regulations for the City of San Diego and other cities, provides consumer protections for taxi riders, including: background checks of taxi permit holders, requiring proof of insurance, a process to license drivers through the Sheriff’s Department, implementing a standard rate of fare, providing field inspections of vehicles, and overseeing a driver complaint process. Mobile phone ride sharing services, or individuals operating private vehicles who respond to roadside hails, utilize private vehicles and private persons that are not subject to any government regulations or vetting. Fares can be arbitrary and they are not posted. Additionally, because there is no requirement for drivers to show identification, there is no way to know if the driver of the ride sharing vehicle is the driver on record with the ridesharing service.

Even though city cabs are regulated by MTS, a recent study from San Diego State University suggests that problems exist within the system too. Drivers frequently reported working excessively long hours while stressed or fatigued, and of cab owners who have refused to properly maintain their vehicles, using tactics of deception to evade detection by inspectors such as swapping out bald tires between recently-inspected cabs and those due for inspection.

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