SF supervisor doesn’t want you riding electric scooters on sidewalks

For those of you keeping track of the scooter saga in San Francisco, Supervisor Aaron Peskin has filed a resolution in opposition of California State Assembly bill 2989. The bill, authored by Assembly Member Heath Flora and sponsored by electric scooter startup Bird, seeks to allow top speeds of 20 mph, let people ride them on sidewalks and only require minors to wear helmets.

“It is disturbing that the same companies and investors who have pledged to work with the City to respect California public safety and public realm laws are spending lobbying dollars in Sacramento to repeal them,” Peskin told TechCrunch via email. “San Francisco is a Transit First City and has committed to some of the strictest environmental and Vision Zero protections in the state. AB 2989 would dismantle those hard-fought protections, and send a message that seniors, parents with kids and the disabled aren’t welcome on San Francisco’s sidewalks.”

But Bird says the intent of the pending legislation is to bring e-scooters into parity with e-bikes.

“It also empowers cities and municipalities in California to pass whatever rules are best for their communities including where to ride an e-scooter,” Bird spokesperson Kenneth Baer told TechCrunch in an email. “We think that is the best approach for cities — as well as riders — and an approach that most cities in California prefer when it comes to policymaking. If there are language improvements to make it clear that cities should be able to set ridership rules, then we are open to that.”

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and the Municipal Transportation Agency are actively creating a permitting process to better regulate scooters. The intent is to ensure “sensible, regulatory frameworks,” Peskin said earlier this week. In legislative meetings earlier this week, members of the public and supervisors expressed concerns pertaining to people operating scooters on sidewalks, as well as people riding them without helmets. This bill, introduced back in February, would essentially enable the opposite of what San Francisco envisions.

“While San Francisco policymakers pursue common sense regulation of standup electronic scooters to enhance the public benefit of this new shared mobility technology and to reduce potential harm to the public, state legislators seek to eliminate elements of the Vehicle Code that exist to protect the health and safety of members of the public including users of standup electric scooters,” Peskin wrote in his resolution.

Judge mostly dismisses Uber lawsuit over its Hell program

Last year, reports surfaced that between 2014 and 2016 Uber had used a program called Hell that let it track Lyft drivers through their unique numbered IDs. With the program, Uber was also reportedly able to identify those who drove for both it and L…

Lyft drivers’ lawsuit against Uber over ‘Hell’ program isn’t over

A class-action lawsuit led by a number of Lyft drivers against Uber regarding the alleged “Hell” spying program is moving forward in an amended way. The lawsuit, brought by Lyft driver Michael Gonzales on behalf of other Lyft drivers, alleges Uber wrongfully intercepted the communications and whereabouts of Lyft drivers, and resulted in the loss of revenue.

Uber reportedly used Hell to track Lyft drivers to see how many were available to give rides and what their prices were. Hell could allegedly also determine if people were driving for both Uber and Lyft.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley dismissed most of the lawsuit yesterday, but is allowing Lyft drivers to file an amended complaint that pertains to monetary losses as a result of unfair competition. In Judge Corley’s ruling, she determined the plaintiff did not sufficiently argue Uber’s violation of the Wiretap Act via interception of communications. Judge Corley also dismissed the plaintiff’s claim that Uber violated the Stored Communications Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

Additionally, Judge Corley dismissed the claim that Uber violated the CA Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act with leave to amend “to the extent Plaintiff can allege facts that plausibly suggest Uber violated a particular subsection of the Act.”

While Judge Corley dismissed the majority of the plaintiff’s claims, Gonzales can file an amended complaint specifically pertaining to unfair competition. From the ruling:

Plaintiff alleges that by encouraging drivers to use the Uber platform exclusively, and not also drive for Lyft, that reduced the supply of Lyft drivers thereby increasing wait times and causing Lyft drivers to experience decreased earnings; in particular, the longer wait time would cause a passenger to cancel the Lyft request and request a new ride from Uber. (FAC ¶ 9, 101, 102.) These factual allegations, which the Court must accept as true, are sufficient to satisfy the lost money or property requirement of UCL standing.

Judge Corley went on to say that Gonzales sufficiently argued he lost revenue as a result of Uber’s attempts to decrease the supply of Lyft drivers.

“Whether Plaintiff will be able to prove that allegation is a question for another day,” Judge Corley wrote.

This comes after Judge Corley dismissed Gonzales’ original complaint with leave to amend in August. Gonzales then filed an amended complaint seeking similar relief with two additional claims. The added claims alleged Uber violated the Federal Stored Communication Act and the California Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In response, Uber filed a motion to dismiss.

I’ve reached out to Uber and will update this story if I hear back.

Ford takes on Uber and Lyft with its own medical transport service

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Hyperloop TT plans to build a working line in Abu Dhabi in 2019

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Ford launches on-demand medical transportation service

Ford is launching an on-demand transportation service for non-emergency medical needs. The idea is to better help patients get to their doctor appointments. Ford is initially launching this in partnership with Beaumont Health in Michigan to serve more than 200 facilities.

Called GoRide, the fleet has 15 transit vans to accommodate people with varying needs. By the end of the year, Ford plans to have 60 vans, all driven by trained professionals, as part of GoRide’s services. The GoRide fleet can accommodate people with wheelchairs, thanks to flexible seats that can flip up and a wheelchair lift.

“There’s no excuse for the fact that so many people have trouble simply making it to their medical appointments,” Ford Mobility Business Group VP Marion Harris said in a press release. “By merging our expertise in vehicles, technology and human-centered design, we’ve created a high-touch, patient-focused service that truly understands and is tailored to patients and their needs. Our service is focused on multiple social determinants of health, and delivers the quality of care and on-time certainty that medical facilities need in order to increase throughput and reduce wait times.”

In March, Lyft committed to cut the problem of health care transportation in half by 2020. Lyft provides API access to partners like Allscripts, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Ascension to integrate the ride-hailing service into its health platforms and electronic health records services.

Meanwhile, people seem to be moving toward on-demand platforms for trips to the emergency room, as well. Last December, a study reported ambulance use has gone down about 7 percent nationwide since the rise of Uber.

Though, neither Uber or Lyft are particularly accessible to people with mobility disabilities. In March, Disability Rights Advocates, on behalf of the Independent Living Resource Center and two people who use wheelchairs, filed a class-action lawsuit today against Lyft. The plaintiffs allege the ride-hailing company discriminates against people who use wheelchairs by not making available wheelchair-accessible cars in the San Francisco Bay Area. Uber also faces a number of lawsuits pertaining to the lack of services it offers to people with mobility disabilities.

In Ford’s pilot program with Beaumont Health, GoRide was on schedule 92 percent of the time in regards to pick-ups and drop-offs. The average wait time for on-demand pick-ups for those needing wheelchair transport was between 10 to 30 minutes.

In a statement, Beaumont Health’s Paul E. LaCasse said, “This is precisely what we needed to improve access to medical care at Beaumont’s facilities for our patients who are elderly, in wheelchairs or have mobility challenges.”

Tesla will run its Model 3 production ’24/7′ to meet targets

Tesla is scrambling to increase Model 3 production however it can, and that now appear to include some drastic measures. Elon Musk has informed staff that Model 3 assembly at the company's Fremont factory will step up to "24/7 operations," with a ne…