Tag Archives: Lyft

California Might Force Uber and Lyft To Drive Electric Cars

(DCNF) A bill in the California legislature calls for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate solely on zero-emissions vehicles.

Not to be outdone with a solar panel mandate for every household and other environmental decrees in recent years, legislators in California are now turning their focus to popular ride-sharing apps. Legislation introduced in the state Senate aims to quickly shift companies like Uber and Lyft onto a 100 percent electric vehicle mandate. If passed, the bill would require 20 percent of the miles traveled by ride-hailing services be done in zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs. This mandate rises to 50 percent by 2026 and ultimately 100 percent by 2030.

“It makes the most sense to focus on those cars that are going to be on the road the most,” state Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said in a Forbes article published Wednesday. “It doesn’t necessarily make sense to have all of our electric vehicles be somebody’s second or third vehicle that’s mostly just parked in their garage.”

The bill, which has been dubbed E-CAr, has already cleared two committees and is currently in Senate Appropriations Committee for review. E-CAr would still need to be approved before a vote in both chambers. (RELATED: California Will Force EVERY New Home Owner To Install Solar Panels)

If passed, the sweeping mandate would have a major impact on Uber and Lyft, both companies are headquartered in California and have over 200,000 drivers operating in the state. Uber is currently “neutral” on the bill, whereas Lyft has voiced more hesitation on the implications such a mandate could bring, according to Forbes.

“Our concern with this bill is the impact it would have on Lyft drivers, the vast majority of whom drive part-time as a way to supplement income and support their families,” stated Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin. “We are engaging with the sponsor of this legislation to find ways to prioritize infrastructure development and incentivize EVs.”

On average, electric vehicles cost around $10,000 more than equivalent gasoline-powered cars.

Written by Jason Hopkins. Follow Jason on Twitter @thejasonhopkins

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Memphis Creates Task Force to Arrest, Fine Uber and Lyft Drivers

The popular rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have been forced to do battle for the right to do business against overzealous bureaucrats and antiquated livery regulations in cities, counties, and states across the US. A recent dust-up with Virginia regulators ended in victory, as the state backed off its cease and desist order against the innovative start-ups. Rideshare services have quickly become an excellent source of part-time employment for people struggling to find jobs and may be reducing drunk driving fatalities, both of which, it would seem, help politicians meet policy goals.

However, WREG-TV is reporting that Memphis city officials, responding to complaints by local taxi drivers, are focusing their energies on enforcing out-of-date livery regulations that were designed long before the innovative technology behind Uber and Lyft existed, rather than trimming regulations to fit with modern business models. The City of Memphis has issued a cease-and-desist order against the rideshare companies, which Uber and Lyft intend to defy. However, in order to add teeth to the city’s threats, a police task force has reportedly been created to fine and arrest the companies’ drivers.

At issue are permits, vehicle inspections, and the associated fees that the city collects, which are a significant burden for part-time rideshare drivers. Aubrey Howard, chief official at the Memphis Permits department, told WREG-TV, “We are not attempting to curtail commerce. What we want is if they are going to do business here they have to follow the rules.” Reportedly, drivers caught working for Uber and Lyft could be arrested, fined up to $400, and face suspension of their driver’s licenses. “We think sending out a task force will make these companies move a little faster,” said Aubrey Howard at Memphis Permits, who confessed that the industry is evolving and may need updated laws. Memphis’ license administrator characterized the rideshare companies as “bullies.”

Taxi companies in the city currently have to pay for permits, vehicle inspections, and background checks, regulations which do hurt taxi drivers in a time in which rideshare companies are growing in popularity. Uber and Lyft have internal safety policies, which include vehicle inspections and higher insurance standards than the City of Memphis requires.

WREG-TV spoke to a local Uber and Lyft driver named VJ about the issue, who said she would defy the cease-and-desist order, “The letter went to Uber and Lyft.  Not to us. So as far as I’m concerned Memphis hasn’t told me personally anything.” She also indicated that Uber is encouraging drivers to continue working despite the ban, “The only communication I’ve had is from Uber and they say we’ve got your back. They say they’ve been in this rodeo before… If [police] impound my car or ticket me I know I’m covered.”

Ride-Share Company Lyft Targeted By Undercover Officers Impounding Drivers’ Vehicles

Miami, FL- Miami-Dade County officials claim that the ride-sharing service Lyft violates county code and have amplified their efforts to put a stop to Lyft by using police in a sting operation to tow the vehicles of Lyft drivers.

Lyft is a ride-sharing service that uses a smartphone app to connect people in need of transportation with drivers who can accommodate them. Those who are in need of a ride use the app to find and request a ride from a nearby driver, and to track the driver’s route and time of arrival. Lyft vehicles are easily noticed due to a catchy pink furry mustache that adorns the front of them.

The cost of using Lyft varies state by state; some drivers accept donations of suggested amounts and other drivers charge a set mileage rate and pickup fee, and sometimes various additional charges such as cancellation fees. Lyft began operating in Miami a couple of weeks ago.

Juan Arango is a Lyft driver who unwittingly picked up an undercover code enforcement officer who requested a ride to the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne. Upon dropping off the officer, Arango’s car was impounded immediately. A few minutes later, another driver, Stanley Scott, received the same “gotcha” experience with another undercover officer requesting a ride to a hotel. Both drivers were unaware that they were operating illegally, according to the Miami Herald. “I trusted that if the service was working in Miami, it was allowed,” said Arango.

In Miami-Dade County, Lyft drivers face fines of up to $2,000 for failure to obtain a chauffeur registration and for driving a “for-hire” vehicle for transportation services without getting a “for-hire” license. The code states that “for-hire vehicles include taxicabs, limousines, passenger motor carriers, jitneys, non emergency vehicles, special transportation services vehicles and private school buses” and are required to attain chauffeur registration.

Attorney Hilton Napoleon, who is representing Arango, Scott, and another driver who picked up an undercover officer, said that Lyft disagrees with the county categorizing the company in the same fashion as traditional taxi cabs. “It’s a situation where technology has kind of outpaced legislation, and we don’t believe the legislation that’s in place covers this particular issue,” said Napoleon.

According to the Miami Herald, Jorge Luis Lopez, a lobbyist for Lyft, obtained emails that showed taxicab and limousine group officials had warned county regulators that Lyft was launching in Miami.  An administrator in the regulatory department reportedly wrote “Let’s crash the party” in response to a forwarded invitation to Lyft’s launch celebration.

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Virginia DMV to Uber, Lyft: ‘Cease and Desist’

With gas prices on the rise and a jobs crisis choking the economy, the popular, new, and innovative rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have been battling back against these economic issues by rapidly expanding to new markets, offering jobs with flexible scheduling to out-of-work folks with reliable cars, and introducing more transportation options for individuals in need of a ride. Since consumers can easily match up with local drivers through these services using a convenient smartphone app, rideshare companies also increase the number of sober rides available to people out drinking at bars, helping to reduce drunk driving fatalities.

However, Uber and Lyft have completely new business models that rely on technology that didn’t exist when most livery regulations were developed. As a result, the companies have had to battle onerous and antiquated regulations on a state-by-state and city-by-city level. In most jurisdictions, the companies have prevailed, but recent battles with Virginia’s state government have escalated and taken a turn for the worse. The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that, on Thursday, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease-and-desist letters to Uber and Lyft, asserting that the companies’ business models are out-of-step with state regulations. According to regulators, all drivers offering rides to the public must attain authorization from the state, except for in the case of rideshares. However, state law disallows rideshares from turning a profit in exchange for their activities.

Last April, the Virginia DMV issued a $9,000 penalty to Lyft and a $26,000 penalty to Uber for profiting on rideshares in violation of state law. The companies chose to appeal the fines and continue operating in the state. However, this new cease-and-desist order comes with a heavy-handed new threat: the DMV will expand its fines from targeting the companies in question to additionally targeting their largely cash-strapped drivers, who have been relying on income from the service to cover bills and feed their families.

Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane said of Uber and Lyft, “I actually like their business model in terms of giving more flexibility to the public, but there are some issues they need to work on and some laws that we need to change,” pointing out the need for policy changes to get state laws in line with rapidly changing trends in technology. However, these companies are already doing business in the state. Many Virginians are currently gainfully employed through them. Also, Uber and Lyft customers in the state have expressed concerns that too few taxis are available to deal with the community’s transportation needs.

According to NBC Washington, Uber representative Natalia Montalvo said of the order, “This decision is not in the best interest of Uber partners, who have been using the technology to make a living, create new jobs and contribute to the economy – or residents who rely on Uber for access to affordable, reliable transportation alternatives. We look forward to continuing to work with the Virginia DMV to find a permanent home for ride-sharing in the Commonwealth.” Lyft representative Chelsea Wilson noted, “Many of the current regulations surrounding taxis and limos were created before anything like Lyft’s peer-to-peer model was ever imagined.”

According to The Washington Post, both Uber and Lyft will continue operating in the state in defiance of the order. Virginia’s state government is conducting a study on web-based rideshare services and plans to publish a report sometime next year. However, this does little good for the companies’ current drivers, who already rely on rideshare income for survival.

Watch the below video for NBC Washington‘s video coverage on the issue.