PUC seems to OK ride-sharing

PUC seems to OK ride-sharing

ride with hitler poster, world war ii, wikimedia, july 31, 2013There’s a good chance they’ll mess it up in the end. But the Public Utilities Commission so far seems to be OK’ing the new ride-sharing systems that are based on cell phones. The Chronicle wrote:

“The new wave of online-enabled ride- and car-sharing services that threaten to disrupt the taxi and limousine industries should be regulated, but in a way that doesn’t stifle innovation, the state Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday.

“The commission proposed rules that would force companies like Lyft, Uber and SideCar to obtain state permits to operate legally. And they would have to carry insurance coverage that exceeds what’s now required of limousines, establish driver training and criminal background checks, and have zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies.

Sunil Paul, SideCar’s chief executive officer, said he is happy with the decision, saying the commission “has come down on the side of safety and innovation.”

“Lyft CEO John Zimmer was still reading through the 59-page document when reached for comment, but said he is pleased that the commission focused on safety regulations. “The list is exhaustive, which I think is good,” he said.

“The proposed rules, which could become final Sept. 5, come after months of public hearings and community debate.”

I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s the government which makes car rentals and taxis so expensive it the first place. And the government transportation monopolies won’t like this any more than do the private taxi oligopolies.

I recently rented a car at SFO and the taxes, fees and whatnot cost more than the car rental. The city of San Francisco also mandates that only “green” cars be used as taxis, which raises the price.

And I recently took a cab in Orange County that cost me $16 to go 2 miles.

If ride-sharing systems can cut that cost, that’s a great advance. But I always expect government to crash a good thing. It’s called experience.

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