The California Public Utilities Commission has cited and fined Uber, Lyft, and SideCar, three San Francisco-based startups offering on-demand transportation through mobile apps, TechCrunch reports.Lyft and SideCar, which let any car owner sign up as drivers to offer rides, received fines of $20,000, the companies told TechCrunch. Uber, which contracts with professional limo drivers, maintains that it’s not subject to regulation by the PUC, which already regulates its drivers.
The commission is classifying the companies as “charter-party carriers.”
The companies argue that such rules don’t apply to them, because they’re offering an Internet-based service to connect riders and drivers.
The city of San Francisco has generally proven friendlier to its local startups. It’s formed a “collaborative consumption” task force to come up with a framework for handling ride-sharing services and other new businesses like Airbnb which run up against older regulations.
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