Lyft Gets Green Light From Cal. Regulators, Other Apps Still in Neutral

By Cameron Scott 

social media, social networks, mobile apps, ride sharing, lyft, sidecar, uberThe California Public Utilities Commission today said that it has entered into an agreement with Lyft mobile application, revoking a cease-and-desist order until a rulemaking process addressing ride-sharing apps concludes six months from now.

The Lyft app, operated by Zimride, allows users to arrange transportation for pay with other users. Because public transportation is heavily regulated, Lyft and other apps, including SideCar and Uber, have faced regulatory battles in many U.S. cities.

“Over the last five years, Zimride has focused on improving the safety and convenience of peer-to-peer transportation. We’re strong believers in the idea that community can solve the largest problems of our time, but we also knew our vision would be met with adversity along the way,” the company said on its blog.

After issuing fines in November to the companies and cease-and-desist letters to several ride-sharing apps, including SideCar and Uber, the CPUC agreed in December to convene a proceeding to work toward balancing public safety and innovation.

Today, the CPUC suspended the cease-and-desist notice and the fine citation pending the outcome of the rulemaking process, and Lyft launched in Los Angeles.

The CPUC has not made similar deals with other ride-sharing apps.

“SideCar is a technology platform that enables peer-to-peer ridesharing and should not be regulated as if it’s operating as a transportation service. We believe that having the right to offer a technology platform that enables the sharing of resources is an important principal for the entire sharing economy,” SideCar spokeswoman Margaret Ryan said.

The rulemaking process is expected to end in six months.