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San Franciscans: Lyft and UberX want to take you to the airport

If your driver doesn't pull you out of the car and smash your phone first, that is

Bay Area residents looking to get to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) received another option this week when Uber announced it had agreed with authorities on a plan to allow UberX and Lyft drivers to travel to and from the airport.

The airport said that the deal would allow the amateur driver service to make trips to and from SFO under a pilot program that permits the services to legally operate.

SFO, like most airports, requires taxis to obtain special permits to operate at the airport. While Uber's professional services (Uber Black and SUV) had been cleared, the citizen-driven UberX and Lyft services had not yet been cleared to operate commercially at the airport.

"We are committed to be an industry leader, creating a roadmap for innovative business models like Lyft and UberX to operate legally in an airport,” SFO director John L. Martin said in a statement.

"We're proud to be the first airport in the U.S. to have both signed permits from both companies."

The two companies were predictably excited about the deal.

"We first began this process with the airport several months ago, and have jointly agreed to a unique framework that upholds Lyft’s highest safety standards and SFO’s dedication to providing innovative options to travelers," Lyft said.

"Lyft will be available throughout all SFO terminals, providing a flexible choice for pick up and drop off for passengers and drivers in our home city."

Uber, meanwhile, will no doubt be hoping that excitement over the SFO service overshadows what could be another ugly legal incident involving a driver on the UberX service.

On Saturday, local media reports that an UberX driver in San Francisco was cited by police for battery and vandalism when he was accused of pulling a passenger from his car and smashing her phone in a disagreement over a trip.

The driver (or someone impersonating him) later took to news site SFist to claim that the passenger had been yelling and creating a "dangerous situation" causing him to pull the car over.

"I have been driving for Uber almost 2 years. I did over 40,000 miles my first year alone and this has never happened before," the comment read.

"If she did the similar thing in some restaurant, bar or other place, I am sure she would have to leave as well."

El Reg put in a request for comment from Uber, but is yet to hear back.

This is not the first time a driver with UberX has been accused of mistreating a passenger. Earlier this year the company was sued by the National Federation for the Blind and last month a driver was charged with felony assault for allegedly hitting a passenger with a hammer. He has pleaded not guilty in the case. ®

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