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.
June 27, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"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."

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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in Quartz
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