Court filing: Uber doesn't want to be regulated by state PUC

Court filing: Uber doesn't want to be regulated by state PUC

uberThere's a broader front in the Uber war than the battle in Los Angeles, where common sense is for now prevailing. AllThingsD has the details:

“Remember when tech startups like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber fought California regulators and won, getting designated as a new class of transportation that was deemed legal?

“Turns out Uber didn’t like that. It filed today a petition for rehearing with the California Public Utilities Commission, saying the transportation regulator shouldn’t have jurisdiction over technology companies.

“What’s going on here is that Uber is trying to play the long game. The previous decision may have been harmless enough, but Uber being Uber, it doesn’t want the CPUC to get the idea that it can tell Uber what to do.

“More specifically, in September the CPUC established a new category called “transportation network companies,” where drivers use their personal vehicles to provide rides for pay.

“That applied to the peer-to-peer businesses of Lyft, Sidecar and Tickengo, and to Uber’s own competitor in that space, UberX. It was a highly important decision that helps legitimize the larger idea of a sharing economy, where non-professionals share their resources and time for a fee. And it was hailed as such by the peer-to-peer companies. 'We made history today!' tweeted Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul. …

“What Uber is clearly concerned about is the CPUC extending its regulatory interest deeper into the Uber business — for instance, saying Uber needs to register as a 'transportation charter party,' or TCP, which covers the commercial license for black cars and limos. That hasn’t happened yet, but it’s possible that it’s on the table.

Here's hoping Uber gets its way. As the Reason folks have pointed out for decades — here's a recent iteration — licensing and regulation have long been used not for safety reasons but to protect entrenched business interests from competition.

If Uber and similar firms wipe out taxis, so be it. Survival of the fittest, and no more ripoff $33 fares for four-mile drives to and from the airport.

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