Want to drive a taxi in San Francisco? You're better off as a robot.
Hundreds of human taxi drivers in the city purchased taxi medallions for $250,000 — then some saw their wages plummet. Human drivers may receive tickets for violating traffic rules. They are required to participate in programs that provide rides for elderly and disabled people in San Francisco.
Robotaxis such as those run by Waymo and Cruise are subject to none of those pesky regulations, and they're about to operate in greater numbers following a vote by the California Public Utilities Commission last week. At the root of most of these disparities is the way vehicles are categorized and managed in California. Cities govern taxis while the state regulates buses, limousines, ride-hailing vehicles and yes, robotaxis.