San Francisco presses CPUC to halt Waymo, Cruise robotaxi expansions

California regulators gave Waymo and Cruise the OK last week to scale up their robotaxi services in San Francisco, but now it seems the city itself won’t have it.

On Wednesday, San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu filed motions with the California Public Utilities Commission to pause the firms’ plans to charge for robotaxi rides in the city at all hours. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the news.

The arguments mirror many of the concerns brought to the CPUC by residents and city agencies; in a marathon hearing last Thursday, many residents insisted that robotaxis in their current form were too obstructive and unsafe to share roads with cyclists, human drivers and emergency responders.

In the days since the CPUC’s green light, at least 10 driverless cars have reportedly stalled and blocked traffic, and one even drove right into wet concrete.

City Attorney Chiu’s letter states, “San Francisco will suffer serious harms from this expansion of driverless AV operations that will outweigh any potential harms from a minimal delay in commercial deployment Cruise may experience.”

The letter goes on to argue that the CPUC “failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act” when it green-lit the robotaxi expansions.

In a comment sent to TechCrunch by email, a spokesperson from Waymo expressed support for the CPUC’s decision. They added,  “We will follow this development closely, and in the meantime, we will continue to work with the city of San Francisco in constructive ways while providing safe and accessible mobility to San Franciscans.”

A Cruise spokesperson offered a similar statement in support of the CPUC. “It’s unfortunate to see the city use public resources to bypass that decision and restrict a technology with an excellent safety record used by tens of thousands of SF residents,” Cruise’s spokesperson added.

Updated 12:38pm PT with a comment from Waymo and 3:40pm PT with a statement from Cruise.