War on Uber moves to Virginia [UPDATED]
If you live in a major city, you probably love Uber. This innovative ride-sharing service is loved by consumers and loathed by taxi monopolies. City Councils all across the country are trying to regulate Uber in order to limit competition for traditional taxis.
Today, the Commonwealth of Virginia sent “cease and desist” letters to both Uber and another ride-sharing company, Lyft. This is in addition to fines levied by the state against both companies. From The Virginia Pilot:
Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist orders today to Lyft and Uber, telling the two ride services that they must stop operating in violation of state law or face fines against their part-time drivers.
The DMV had already issued civil penalties against the companies in April — $26,000 for Uber and $9,000 for Lyft — for trips that their drivers provided in Virginia despite warnings by the state agency that Virginia law does not allow their business model. The companies are on the leading edge of a trend in which mobile apps are used to connect passengers with part-time drivers who use their personal vehicles outside of the regulations of a traditional taxi service.
Apparently this is also about saving the children(?), according to DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb:
“I urge the citizens of Virginia to protect their families by using only companies that appear on DMV’s website as licensed transportation services. If it’s not on the list, it’s not recommended,” Holcomb said in the DMV notice.
Emphasis added. For the record, I feel much safer riding in an Uber than a Virginia or DC taxicab.
UPDATE: Lyft and Uber vow to continue operating in Virginia despite the action taken by the Commonwealth of Virginia.