Another day. Another city. Another fleet of taxicab operators attempting to edge out ride-sharing's Big Three: Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft have just received individual cease-and-desist letters from the Los Angeles Board of Taxicab Commissioners' executive director Thomas M. Drischler.
The Verge reports the letters deem the startups as "operating an unlicensed commercial transportation service[s]" and instructs each to suspend passenger pickups and dispatch responses until they've obtained permits from the California Public Utilities Commission.
However, there are two points that may present problems for those looking to regulate ridesharing services in L.A.:
First, spokespeople from all three services tell Fast Company they have reached separate agreements with CPUC that sanction their operations in the state of California, even as CPUC continues to develop concrete rules regarding ridesharing.
Second, L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is one of 15 city mayors who just agreed to cosponsor "Resolution No. 87," an initiative to identify and address regulations that create roadblocks for sharing economy startups such as Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and, of course, Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft. (We'll update this post when we hear back from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.)
For its part, Uber will continue all Los Angeles-based operations, a spokesman tells me. "We have the PUC's blessing and we'll continue to operate in the state of California," he says.
Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft have all faced legal backlash against their services, which offer peer-to-peer rides that directly compete with city taxicab operators. Uber's spats in New York and Washington, D.C., and San Francisco were particularly high profile. Uber and other on-demand car services like Hailo recently celebrated a huge victory in New York City, where the County Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit that initially delayed the city's yearlong pilot program to integrate these services' apps with the existing fleet of yellow cabs.
[Image: Flickr user Danichro]