Lyft’s San Francisco road show stop was thrown into confusion on Monday as angry drivers staked out the planned venue ahead of time, forcing the company to relocate to a private club a few blocks away at the last minute.
“Lyft, Lyft you’re no good, treat your drivers like you should,” protesters chanted on the sidewalks of California Street, directly across from Goldman Sachs’ San Francisco office.
“Tell me what you really want! Justice!” the call-and-response chants droned while hoards of black cars circled and honked outside.
One hotel doorman said that he was getting nervous as light rain started to fall outside.
By 12 pm, it wasn’t clear if the scheduled meeting would still occur. Hotel staff could not confirm when or where the meeting was taking place. Some investors who arrived at the hotel could be seen leaving soon after.
Eventually, the meeting was moved to the Olympic Club on Post Street, about a 15-minute walk from the original Omni location. The exclusive club doesn’t post membership requirements or details online, though some reports peg the cost at upwards of $10,000 per year on top of an even larger initiation fee.
The meeting protests in San Francisco coincided with similar actions by drivers in Los Angeles, who are striking Monday in opposition to what they say are consistent pay cuts by Lyft’s larger ride-hailing rival.
Lyft has touted its more driver friendly approach for years, but as it seeks to shore up its balance sheet and compete with Uber, that reputation has begun to sour. In New York, easily the nation’s largest ride-hailing market, the company filed a lawsuit to overturn new rules that set a minimum wage for all app-based drivers.
The company maintained its beef with regulators was about how the pay was calculated — through a complex “utilization rate” — and not over the principal of paying drivers. Still, the suit angered plenty of drivers and organizing groups.