No, not Dickens, and no, this is not 1789, San Francisco and Seattle not Paris, not France. But what might be, or is true, is that a new non-monarchical caste has firmly entrenched itself in America, money, having lots of money enfranchising a new nobility class. While one may not be a hereditary King or Queen, money allows individuals an out-sized influence and stature, providing power and influence over others. Travis Kalanick of Uber, and John Zimmer of Lyft are representative of this new class, dominating people's lives not unlike Russia's Catherine the Great's relationship with 18th Century Russian serfs.
Has the interrelational dynamics changed sixteen years into the 21st Century? No, unless surface alterations pass as permanence, choice remaining the same if your pockets, and stomach, are empty. Isn't the worker narrative from slave to serf to indentured servant to option-less modern day laborer the same story, where the underlying directive and message repeating that where and how you were born is what and how you will remain? In America, one of the few escape routes is a university education but even a PHD doesn't guarantee a seat amongst the new social rank, only meaning you have an opportunity not dissimilar to buying a lottery ticket. Yes, you might win but overall odds are slight.
Seattle and San Francisco's story then, taken in this light, are one and the same. While San Francisco's taxi industry is more egalitarian that Seattle's, it remains controlled and stymied by municipal and wealthy elitists who know what is best for their unwashed inferiors. While seemingly an exaggeration it probably isn't, because in both cities their daily fates are dictated by those who have not and never will drive a taxi.
Why? Because, as adults, certain kinds of playgrounds are reserved for children only, and for the New Royalty there is no changing that attitude.. For instance, despite my tugging upon the regulatory sleeve, why am I never listened to? I just told you why, which is perhaps why a return in 1789 would be a good idea. Until then, cabbies will remain subject to the harshest punishments and legal judgments while the real criminals will both remain in charge and rule the world. Glory hallelujah, let Jesus set us free! Or at least for a few minutes. That would be nice.