Driverless car company Waymo’s attack on Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco is intensifying

Driverless-Waymo-in-SF-071523, Driverless car company Waymo’s attack  on Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco is intensifying, Local News & Views
Driverless Waymo car driving in San Francisco on July 15, 2023.

by Minister of Information JR Valrey

The AI-robot revolution has been invading San Francisco very aggressively this year – maybe because the city is located on the most northern tip of Silicon Valley. In this round of people versus the machines of billionaire corporations, Waymo driverless car company has recently released a study saying that 33% of San Francisco drivers speed. They claim to have collected this data from their driverless fleet within a 10 day period in May, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  

According to the study, San Francisco drivers speed 5 mph over the limit on the streets with a 25 mph speed limit 7% of the time and up to 9% of the time on streets with a 30 mph speed limit. Though motorists drove 10 miles above the speed limit on 25 mph streets just 1% of the time, Waymo is trying to use this study to justify its expansion. 

The study was released two days before California regulators were set to vote on whether to allow Waymo and Cruise to charge for rides in the city without restrictions. Last Monday, Genevieve Shiroma, commissioner on the state’s Public Utilities Commission, pushed this extremely important vote back until Aug. 10 because of the public backlash. 

Many people in San Francisco are against driverless cars because of the jobs that they take away from Black people who are otherwise locked out of the economy, allowed to work only for Uber and Lyft. Many cab drivers in the city are wondering why taxi cab drivers have to spend $250,000 for a taxi medallion to operate a taxi cab in San Francisco while Waymo and Cruise are not being mandated to pay for the services that they provide. 

And many in the public safety and transportation sector are hesitant to cosign the expansion of driverless cars, because they interfere with public transit, traffic flow and emergency response. Driverless car companies admit that their cars just stall when faced with new situations, as has been observed publicly many times. 



When faced with addressing this phenomenon, Trent Victor, Waymo’s director of safety research and best practices, said, “We are continuously striving to improve.” That’s a helluva answer to address your defective driverless car taking the jobs of  tens of thousands of people in the local shared car economy as well as habitually stopping traffic during rush hour and in emergency situations. The people should ban driverless cars from the streets of San Francisco. 

Safe Street Rebel is an organization that has sprung up in San Francisco to bring this fight of people vs machines to the streets. They recently organized “A Week of Cones” to fight back. They have been going around the city placing cones on the hoods of driverless vehicles to immobilize them, since no one is with the car to knock the cones off. This tactic has been relatively successful and has been getting the organization a lot of media attention. Black activists take notice. 

JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, is also the editor in chief of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. He teaches the Community Journalism class twice a week at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper office. He can be reached at jr@sfbayview.com