California Public Utilities Commissions Approves Rules For Lyft, SideCar, Uber

In a win for ridesharing services Lyft, SideCar, and Uber, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced Thursday that it has approved final rules to govern the new transportation services, requiring such things as criminal background checks for drivers, zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol, and commercial liability insurance requirements. The CPUC's had announced a preliminary deal for the rules earlier in the year.

Although the new rules have been hailed as a big win for those companies, cities--including Los Angeles--are continuing to fight the entrance of the new, smartphone-driven ridesharing services into their territory, saying that cities--which regulate local taxi service--and not the CPUC should have the final say in how and if those ridesharing services can operate. The CPUC and the services had announced the outline of the new rules earlier this year, with the CPUC creating a new category of "Transportation Network Company (TNC)" to specifically cover online-enabled applications connecting passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles.

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