|By Daniel Rothberg, The Sacramento Bee|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The part-time citizen chauffeurs who drive UberX's sedans or Lyft's pink-mustached cars instead sign onto a smartphone app, which logs their location and matches them with prospective riders nearby.
For passengers who request a car through the ride-sharing apps, the service is hip, efficient and cheap. UberX advertises a flat rate of
The result: a service in high demand.
Yet as the
Lawmakers and the
But ride-sharing firms, the primary targets of new regulations, reject nearly all of the proposed rules. While companies like UberX and Lyft say they are willing to compromise, they view the current push as an unnecessary threat to their popular business model, one intended to leave them at a competitive disadvantage.
"The sharing economy and those who are disrupting established business models are definitely drawing the ire of traditional special interest groups, in this case in the transportation sector," said
Shouting from a podium in front of the Capitol, Lyft driver
"As I saw with the transition from the typewriter to the PC, new technologies bring new opportunities and benefits," Crane said. "And our laws must adapt to embrace these changes."
At the end of last year, the PUC, which regulates UberX and Lyft, established regulations and a new commercial category for ride-sharing firms: "transportation network companies," or TNCs. Last week, the commission took action to enforce its existing rules, sending warning letters to five ride-sharing companies -- Lyft, SideCar, Summons, UberX and Wingz. The letters argue that the companies violated regulations that ban TNCs from servicing airports without a permit.
"It's important that these companies have permits,"
UberX and Lyft said they plan to continue working with
She said the airport is open to commercial ride sharing, but that UberX and Lyft drivers must follow the same permitting procedure as their cabbie counterparts, raising an unsettled question at the root of any ride-sharing debate: Are UberX and Lyft taxis?