A National First: California OKs Ride-Sharing

New regulations cement fast-growing services as legal
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2013 3:24 PM CDT
A National First: California OKs Ride-Sharing
In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, Lyft driver Nancy Tcheou waits in her car after dropping off a passenger as a taxi cab passes her in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – California has just become the first state to devise regulations for ride-sharing services, the fast-growing underground cab companies that have traditional taxis shaking in their boots. Services like Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber Technologies let you pay for a ride from people who use their own cars to drive you around. California's move will put restrictions on the services, but also lend them legitimacy, the LA Times reports.

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Under the new rules, drivers will have to undergo criminal background checks, get driver training, carry insurance with at least a million dollars worth of liability coverage, and agree to a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy—all of which Sidecar and Lyft already require. The move is designed to prevent cities from enacting their own regulations, or banning the concept completely, as traditional taxi companies would prefer. One industry group calls ride-sharing "an existential threat," saying taxis can't compete with cheaper, less-regulated alternatives. (Read more ride sharing stories.)

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