Lyft Inc. has reached an agreement with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to share information about driver practices and the services the ride-hailing company offers to disabled passengers and low-income neighborhoods.
Herrera’s office subpoenaed four years of records from Lyft and rival Uber Technologies Inc. last June, arguing the city needs the data to analyze how the companies affect traffic congestion and pedestrian safety and whether they’re complying with state and local laws. An estimated 45,000 drivers for both companies pick up passengers in San Francisco, according to the city.
Lyft and Uber initially challenged the subpoenas, citing a threat to their trade secrets. Lyft later handed over many of the records the city sought, but the company would only allow them to be seen by attorneys. Under the new agreement, traffic experts and law enforcement officials can view the data so long as the city shields the information from public disclosure.
“It’s always our desire to work with cities in which we operate and, after receiving sufficient assurances from the city attorney that the data will be kept confidential and secure, we have reached a resolution … permitting limited sharing of the data within city government only,” Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison said in a statement.
Uber, represented by Davis Wright Tremaine, continues to fight Herrera’s administrative subpoena. The company in December appealed a San Francisco Superior Court order to turn over the records to the First District Court of Appeal.
“I want to commend Lyft for being sensible during this process and ultimately doing the right thing,” Herrera said in a statement. “I cannot say the same for Uber.”
“For a company that is supposedly changing its culture, thumbing your nose at the law is a funny way of showing that you’re now a good corporate citizen,” Herrera said.
An Uber spokesman said in a statement the company shares “all required data with our regulators in California to ensure compliance with the law. We will continue working with the city of San Francisco on a pilot project to share Uber trip data.”
San Francisco city officials have often sparred with the city’s hometown ride-hailing companies, usually with similar results: Lyft will settle after a brief skirmish, while Uber historically digs in for a protracted battle. In 2016, Uber agreed to pay up to $25 million to settle litigation brought by San Francisco and Los Angeles for making misleading claims about its driver background checks. Lyft settled similar claims in 2014 for $500,000.
In this case, Herrera is asking the companies to reveal how many miles and hours their drivers log in the city as well as whether they offer drivers any incentives to commute to San Francisco from outside the region. The city is also seeking records that show which neighborhoods the companies serve and whether they offer rides to passengers who have disabilities.