Three car-sharing companies received cease-and-desist letters from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s taxicab administrator last week. Uber, Sidecar and Lyft use mobile applications for consumers to request a pickup. Although some drivers aren’t professionally licensed to pick up customers, all drivers go through background checks.
Launched in Los Angeles in February, Uber already signed an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that indicated Uber services are authorized to operate statewide, according to Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Uber. In a press release issued by CPUC in January, the CPUC stated that it had entered into an operating agreement with Uber while CPUC’s ridesharing rulemaking was in progress.
According to Noyes, Uber has complied with CPUC’s list of requirements for drivers, including proof of insurance, Department of Motor Vehicle checks and national criminal background checks.
Sidecar has also followed all the safety guidelines issued by CPUC, according to Rachael King, national social media manager for Sidecar. “These include background checks on all of our community drivers, GPS tracking of rides, a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy and insurance that covers both riders and drivers for up to $1 million per incident,” says King.
According to King, Sidecar will continue to operate in Los Angeles. “We have an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission that permits us to operate statewide. We are in contact with Mayor Villaraigosa’s office and Mayor-elect Garcetti's staff to address their concerns, and we plan to collaborate with them to continue to bring the benefits of ridesharing to LA.”
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation declined to comment.
By Amy Winter