Car-sharing services Uber and Lyft likely to keep operating in L.A.

It looks like lovers of car-sharing apps can sleep well tonight. Representatives from two of the three companies hit with cease-and-desist letters from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation suggested they will continue to operate.

Both Uber and Lyft cited the California Public Utilities Commission, which earlier this year cleared both companies to operate in the state of California. Sidecar, which was also hit with a letter from Los Angeles, also is permitted by the commission to operate, though company officials did not respond to my request for comment.

“We already signed an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission explicitly stating that Uber services, including the eco-friendly uberX, are authorized to operate statewide,” an Uber spokesman wrote me in an email. “In this case, it’s the state PUC who has jurisdiction, and the PUC has explicitly given the authority for these drivers to operate.”

A Lyft spokeswoman sent a statement from company founder and president John Zimmer.

“Yesterday’s cease and desist letter from a taxi regulator within the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is similar to what we received when we first launched in San Francisco one year ago. Since that time, we have
signed an operating agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which allows us to operate legally throughout California. The CPUC operating agreement clarifies that we are not a taxi and demonstrates that this is a state issue.”

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Ride-sharing service Lyft responses to criticism from L.A.

1 p.m. UPDATE: We received a more thorough non-Twitter response from Lyft:

“Lyft’s hundreds of thousands of community members are changing the way
people get around, and making city life more affordable, friendly and
efficient. As with innovations and movements before us, there will
often be challenges and hurdles along the way. Yesterday’s cease and
desist letter from a taxi regulator within the Los Angeles Department
of Transportation (LADOT) is similar to what we received when we first
launched in San Francisco one year ago. Since that time, we have
signed an operating agreement with the California Public Utilities
Commission (CPUC), which allows us to operate legally throughout
California. The CPUC operating agreement clarifies that we are not a
taxi and demonstrates that this is a state issue.”

ORIGINAL POST: In response to my story Monday about the cease and desist letters sent by Los Angeles to ride-sharing firms, I heard today from Lyft, one of the companies told to stop operating in Los Angeles.

Like Uber and Sidecar, the company was told by the L.A. taxi administrator that it is not properly licensed to facilitate car pickups in the city. I’ve heard from many customers upset about this development. Consumers, especially younger ones, seem to appreciate the opportunity to arrange shared rides via mobile phone apps. Most say they they don’t mind that the drivers aren’t professionally licensed as livery drivers.

Here are a series of Tweets I received today from Lyft. The CPUC referenced below is the California Public Utilities Commission:

@BrianSumers The Mayor and Mayor-elect support the sharing economy and we look forward to working with them moving forward.

@BrianSumers We have an operating agreement with the CPUC allowing us to operate statewide in CA. http://blog.lyft.me/post/41875764373/progress-lyft-reaches-interim-agreement-with-cpuc …

@BrianSumers We’re in touch with Mayor Villaraigosa’s office and look forward to resolving LADOT’s questions.

 

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Sidecar, Uber and Lyft told to stop operating in Los Angeles

Three popular car-for-hire companies — Sidecar, Uber and Lyft — received cease-and-desist letters Monday from the city of Los Angeles, accusing them of operating illegally.

I’ll have a full story up soon. But in the meantime, below are the letters sent today by the city’s taxicab administrator. They’re short. Each is only about a page and a half.

It’s not yet clear what the companies will do in response.

Uber Cease & Desist LADOT June 24, 2013

Sidecar Cease & Desist LADOT June 24, 2013

Lyft Cease & Desist LADOT June 24, 3012

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