LA Council to Consider Rideshare Rules Challenge

Ridesharing companies are considered "transportation network companies," giving them an unfair advantage over taxi services, according to an LA council member

By Jonathan Lloyd and Jacob Rascon
|  Friday, Oct 18, 2013  |  Updated 9:00 AM PDT
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A Los Angeles council member plans to ask Friday that his colleagues discuss new regulations that allow app-enabled rideshare companies - such as UberX, SideCar and Lyft -- to operate in California.

The LA City Council is expected to discuss a motion by Councilman Paul Koretz that would ask the city attorney to submit the "necessary filings to preserve the city's right to appeal" the California Public Utility Commission's decision.

Opponents of the PUC decision have until Wednesday to submit their requests to reconsider the rules approved in September. The step is required if regulation opponents plan to join possible future legal appeals in court.

Earlier this year, hundreds of cab drivers gathered at LA City Hall and honked horns to protest the rideshare startups.

Koretz said he believes the ridesharing services are essentially taxi services, referring to them as "bandit cabs." The PUC regulations do not categorize ridesharing companies as taxi companies, which can be regulated by the city.

The PUC-approved regulations mean ridesharing services would be "unfairly competing" with regulated taxi services, according to Koretz's motion.

The rules classify app-enabled rideshare services as "transportation network companies." People who want a ride can use a phone app to arrange for a ride with the service.

The rules require rideshare companies to obtain a license from the PUC. The companies would also have to carry insurance that is equal to what is required of cab drivers. Criminal background checks of drivers, car inspections and a driver training program are among other requirements.

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