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Did the “Uber Strike” Change Your Commute?

12:56 PM PDT on May 9, 2019

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

IPOs, traffic, blocked bike lanes, and exploited gig workers--there's a lot to unpack when it comes to today's Uber and Lyft strike. But as cycling advocates prepare for tomorrow's Bike to Work Day, it was an opportunity to suggest one obvious alternative to hailing a TNC:

As reported in the mainstream press, San Francisco Uber and Lyft drivers are promising to turn off their apps from noon to midnight today (the strike is global, and different cities have different strike schedules; London's started at 7 a.m., for example). Some 100 protesters were out marching and demonstrating at Uber's headquarters on Market Street this afternoon, chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, unfair pay has got to go!" (CityLab did a great breakdown in March about the pay issues).

Some 100 demonstrators in front of Uber's headquarters in San Francisco this afternoon, around 2
Some 100 demonstrators in front of Uber's headquarters in San Francisco this afternoon, around 2 p.m.

The New York Times is reporting that the strike got off to a "muted start" in Australia and the U.K., and as of the time this posted it's too soon to say how things are going in the Bay Area (please comment below if you've noticed any difference on our streets). Streetsblog saw several Uber drop-offs and pick-ups after noon today, including one right in front of the Uber building, so it seems at least some drivers are crossing the virtual picket lines.

Meanwhile, for a while this afternoon, the demonstrators were blocking Market Street between 10th and 11th. Fortunately, the San Francisco Police Department was there to clear the obstruction... for transit and, of course, motorists--although not so much for bikes, as this cop who parked his cruiser on the bike lane made clear.

And this is how SFPD clears Market Street of protesters. Sigh. In fairness, the SFPD cruiser was moved shortly after this photo was taken
And this is how SFPD clears Market Street of protesters (in fairness, the parked cruiser was eventually moved).

A study done last year by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority showed that Uber and Lyft accounted for roughly half of the increase in congestion in San Francisco between 2010 and 2016, as measured in vehicle hours of delay, vehicle miles traveled, and average speeds (Streetsblog has a request in to SFMTA to see if the strike is having any impact on transit and will update this post). Uber and Lyft are also responsible for a highly disproportionate number of road violations, including (spoiler alert!) blocking bike lanes.

Nationally, studies show Uber and Lyft are causing other problems on city streets as well.

Whether you normally commute by Muni, BART, bike, scooter, by foot, or roller skates, let us know if your commute changed this evening due to the Uber/Lyft strike. And let us know your thoughts on wage disparities, the gig economy, and the upcoming IPO.

Comment below.

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