Sharing's Canary in the Coal Mine? State regulators fine Lyft, Sidecar and Uber $20K Each

Citing public safety concerns,  the California Public Utilities Commission announced Wednesday it has issued $20,000 citations to ride-sharing start-ups Lyft, SideCar, and Uber for illegally operating.

San Francisco is ground zero for the collaborative consumption craze, but the city’s cab drivers are less than thrilled about the various companies disrupting the transportation sector.

“Ridesharing may be the sharing industry’s canary in the coalmine” warned SideCar CEO Sunil Paul. “It’s up to us to guard against this regulatory overreach to prevent a broader assault on individual property, communications and association rights.”

The CPUC cited several issues for the start-ups: lack of evidence of property damage insurance coverage and evidence of workers’ compensation insurance and failure to enroll drivers in the Department of Motor Vehicles Employer Pull Notice Program.

“If something happens to a passenger while in transport with Lyft, SideCar, or Uber, it is the responsibility of the CPUC to have done everything in its power to ensure that the company was operating safely according to state law,” said Brigadier General (CA) Jack Hagan, Director of the CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division, in a statement. “That means that the company has insurance to cover an accident and that its employees are protected and are suitable drivers. I look forward to working with these companies to bring them into compliance with our safety laws.”

SideCar issued a statement saying it had gotten a “$20K Ticket for Innovating Over Speed Limit” and urged people to tweet their support to #defendsharing.  The full post is here: http://blog.side.cr/2012/11/14/sidecar-gets-20k-ticket-for-innovating-over-speed-limit/.

Uber, which is also facing a class-action lawsuit from San Francisco taxi drivers, says they will work with the PUC.

“We take the law very seriously at Uber,” said CEO Travis Kalanick in an e-mail.
“Every single transportation provider that Uber partners with in California is
properly licensed with the PUC.” 

 

Dana Hull Dana Hull (234 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.