By Harry Gibbons
Proposed new regulation before the California Public Utilities Commission would apply to any company that uses the Internet to connect riders with non-commercial drivers. The specific targets are rideshare startups like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.
Although rideshare companies would be regulated differently from taxis, under the commission’s proposal they would still have to comply with some basic rules. These include background checks and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies for drivers.
The CPUC says the regulations are not meant to stifle business innovation, but are focused mainly on keeping riders safe.
Larry Silva is president of Yellow Checker Cab Company. He says the regulations don’t go far enough.
“You know the more they’re regulated like a taxi company, 'Why aren’t they a taxi company?' I think is the biggest question," says Silva.
Companies will also have to develop signage to put on cars to make them more recognizable.
The Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal this coming Thursday.