Regulation

Taxi Alternative Startups Hit with Fines in California

You will be regulated or else!

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A number of San Francisco car service startups have been cited for "violations of the Public Utilities Code" by the California Public Utilities Commission, the state agency that regulates taxis and limousines. The companies have until December 3, 2012 to respond, or they can pay $20,000 in fines.

In a Wednesday statement (PDF) the CPUC charged Lyft, SideCar, and Uber with "operating as passenger carriers without evidence of public liability and property damage insurance coverage in effect and on file with the CPUC," and "engaging employee-drivers without evidence of workers' compensation insurance in effect and on file with the CPUC."

"That is unsurprising to me, based on the law," Jordanna Thigpen, the former deputy director of the San Francisco Taxi Commission and now attorney with Cotchett, Pitre, and McCarthy, told Ars. "Those are quite large fines. I've never heard of such fines."