As Uber and Lyft car services compete with each other for customers, their combined struggle with the state of Virginia is intensifying.
A day after the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles demanded both companies halt operations in the commonwealth because they don't have the proper authority, both services are still running.
State officials at Virginia's DMV sent letters to both Uber and Lyft requesting the companies cease and desist operating until both California-based companies become legal.
The DMV tells us the companies haven't even officially applied to get the proper authority, so the state is promising fines, not just for the companies, but for the drivers as well.
Ride services like Uber and Lyft don't seem too worried about any Virginia obstacles despite demands from the DMV to stop operating. They are continuing to allow enterprising car owners to pick up passengers requesting a ride through the companies' apps.
Cab drivers say it is not fair because they have to conform to state regulations, which requires drivers to carry commercial insurance.
“Every Arlington driver, every Virginia driver go through the background check every year and a fingerprint [check],” one cab driver tells us.
“If they don't have any [commercial] insurance, that's not only harmful for the Uber driver, but the customer also,” says another cab driver.
A peer-to-peer model of transportation using an app was never imagined when regulations surrounding taxis and limos were created.
While Virginia works to establish new rules, the DMV says Uber and Lyft must abide by current guidelines.
“Frankly, it's disappointing to see a state not want to engage with a new service that consumers love, that creates opportunities for drivers,” says Uber regional general manager Rachel Holt.
The affordable and reliable transportation is a big hit with consumers. But no one on the state level is arguing the ride services are bad for you or the economy. They just want them to play by the same rules as everyone else.
The Consumer Electronics Association supports its member like Uber through research, education and public policy representation.
The group's senior vice president of communications and strategy says the CEA is urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to overturn the DMV's cease and desist order.
“They need to be flexible enough to allow these innovative industries that are creating jobs, creating opportunities and providing wonderful options for consumers to move forward and succeed,” says Jeffrey Joseph of the Consumer Electronic Association.
The companies are still up and running, and in fact, you can order a car right now. But the companies face fines and so do the drivers.
There is a possible loophole for the little guy -- the drivers. If they already have the proper “for hire” license, they may avoid any trouble.?
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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