New San Francisco Law will Collect Realtime Location from all Taxis


San Francisco taxi origins and destinations, with magnitude blobs by Eric Fischer

The San Francisco board of supervisors will vote on a law that will require all taxis to transmit their locations to a central system. Additionally, all apps based on hailing cabs (UberTaxi, Taxi Magic, Flywheel) would be required to use the network.

This will have a few effects:

  • Create a great new source of data about cab demand and supply for SFMTA to use when deciding how to regulate cabs and potentially allow additional cabs.
  • Enlarge the pool of cabs hailable via apps
  • Remove app companies ability to regulate which drivers are allowed into their systems, potentially decreasing driver quality and passenger experience

SFist puts it best:

A good number of our cab drivers are unprofessional bigots and goons who don't represent well for their ilk, smoking in their own cabs, refusing to take credit cards, being homophobic, and refusing to drive to the Sunset and elsewhere.

Uber Taxi charges an additional $1 on top of the cab cost and tip to use its service for hailing a cab. One benefit to using Uber Taxi is that it has vetted drivers and will remove drivers with low ratings from its service. If uber was required to use all San Francisco taxi drivers, no matter how bad thier rating was, there would be less incentive to use uber over other taxi hailing apps.