Even as the L.A. Department of Transportation warned the big three ride-app companies that their drivers face arrest if they keep operating locally, the City Council's Transportation Committee began looking at ways to make the services legal.
The LADOT warned the companies in cease-and-desist letters Monday that they were not legal in L.A. Two out of the three say they are legal because they have permission from the state, and they vowed to defy the orders and keep on truckin' in Los Angeles:
The move to come up with a way to regulate the likes of Lyft, Uber and Sidecar in L.A. kicked off yesterday with a motion to do just that in the committee, according to City News Service.
The LADOT says the services are not legit in L.A. because they often act as taxis, picking up fares without proper paperwork that would make them act more like limo services.
Uber is the most limo-like service and the most legit of the three, the department says. The others appear to match private drivers with people who need rides, although Lyft says it still does background checks on motorists and buys more than enough liability insurance.
But the move to regulate brings up the question of what this is really all about:
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The local taxi companies, which represent a powerful lobby in City Hall, are up in arms over the ride apps. Taxi drivers took to the streets and City Hall yesterday to make their case.
But Thomas M. Drischler, the city taxicab administrator who sent out the cease-and-desist letters, told the Weekly it's about more than political influence.
The cab companies go through many hoops to serve the drunk people of L.A., including putting wheelchair-accessible vehicles into service and converting much of their fleets to hybrid cars.