While I too am not a big fan of waiting for taxis, I would rather wait than risk my safety and waive my legal rights by riding in one of these cars.
Read Sidecar and Lyft’s terms of service. In my opinion they are detestable. In Sidecar’s terms, in at least 4 places, they say they will bear no responsibility for your injury or death. This is true even if you are attacked or raped by the driver, injured because of defective maintenance or if the driver is high or drunk.
Here is a sample of how they feel about you; “In no event will Sidecar be responsible for any damages (including personal injury, death, property damage, lost time or wages, etc.)” Sidecar does not stand behind its drivers and runs from any responsibility; “each Driver (not Sidecar or its affiliates) bears sole and absolute responsibility for all aspects of a ride, including safety, driving practices, conduct, as well as securing all required licenses, insurance, and registrations, and compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules, and regulations.” In case you missed that, in ALL CAPITALS they say; “USE OF THE SERVICE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK . . .” IN NO EVENT SHALL SIDECAR, ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, SUPPLIERS OR LICENSORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES.” If that doesn’t show you how this cool and groovy new “ride share” company feels about you, by using their “platform,” you waive your constitutional right to a jury. They also get you to waive your rights to participate in a class action so, if they take a little bit from each passenger and/or driver, they will probably get away with it as no one will sue over $1-2.00.
If you are a passenger and a Lyft driver is using a borrowed car, has not maintained the car in good operating condition, “misrepresents” anything about Lyft, breaks any law (vehicle code?) or does anything else Lyft does not like, Lyft can, unilaterally, deny its touted $1,000,000 in insurance.
Drivers get screwed too. If Lyft denies the driver protection under the $1,000,000 policy they may lose their house, car, or bank account, have their wages garnished, or be forced into bankruptcy. Insurance industry groups have stated that they consider these drivers to be engaged in a business thereby canceling out their private car insurance pursuant to a “business exemption.” In the event of an accident, Taxi companies provide their drivers with insurance, a lawyer and, in many instances, workers compensation if they get hurt. Lyft and Sidecar drivers get no workers compensation. Unbelievably, Sidecar has drivers sign a complete release and waiver of all claims that drivers could ever have against it. Like passengers, Lyft and Sidecar drivers also give up their constitutional rights to a jury trial.
Taxis and taxi drivers are “common carriers” and owe passengers “the highest degree of care” meaning they must take every safety precaution in inspecting, maintaining and driving taxis. Lyft and Sidecar, and their drivers, expressly state they are not common carriers thereby offering a lower standard of care to riders. Lyft and Sidecar undertake no responsibility to make sure the cute little cars are inspected or properly maintained on a regular basis.
By law, each taxi in San Francisco must be equipped with a video camera that is tamper proof. This law came about after several taxi drivers, and passengers, had been robbed, raped and killed. No such protection exists in “ride share” vehicles. Basically you are getting into a car with a total stranger. What did your mother say about that?