Online Car Service Battle Lands in Los Angeles

Online car services like Uber and Lyft have waged highly publicized regulatory and political battles in NYC, D.C., and elsewhere. After the city sent out cease-and-desist letters to companies this week, L.A. has emerged as the newest battleground.

"Anyone keeping up with the battles between online car services and local taxi companies is familiar with this dynamic: Municipal regulators and cab services will use any legal outlet they can to bar new companies leveraging mobile networks from entering the marketplace," writes Tim Fernholz.

"The latest example is in Los Angeles, a city designed around automotive travel, which has been sparring with auto entrepreneurs practically since the technology was invented. LA’s transit agency sent cease and desist letters to Uber, the online car service, as well as Lyft and Sidecar, two community companies that connect car owners with people looking for a ride."

"One complaint from cabbies is that the new entrants are unsafe, since they don’t follow city regulations," explains Fernholz. "But the companies say that, as part of their agreement to be regulated by the state, they perform background checks on drivers, provide insurance and certify car safety."

"If Los Angeles can find an amicable compromise, it might once again take the lead in defining American car culture."

Full Story: Internet car start-ups look to the new mayor of Los Angeles for a helping hand

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00