(“hipster taxis”, a friend calls them) are facing some backlash over their business model of peer-to-peer ridesharing, particularly in the state of Virginia.
The Virginia DMV
has made it clear that this ridesharing paradigm is against current law. There’s a provision in the law for ridesharing in the case of, for example, carpoolers trying to save a buck getting to work, but Uber and Lyft violate the part of the law that applies to “any business that receives compensation to provide or facilitate transportation”.
The Virginia DMV has sent cease and desist letters to both companies, warning them that after months of warnings and civil penalties for specific instances, they must cease operations within the state.
It’s not all stern fingers and furrowed brows, though; the DMV is readdressing the current laws on the books and says it has sought input from stakeholders including Lyft and Uber. “I strongly suggest that [Uber and Lyft] focus its resources on participation in this study rather than continue illegal operations,” reads the letters.
Uber, or its part, isn’t interested in complying. Instead, the company emailed all its users assuring them that the service would continue to run as normal and stating that they were “surprised and disappointed” by the cease and desist letter because the company has been working with Virginia lawmakers already to address the existing laws.
Uber is also encouraging its users to email, call, or tweet at Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and other state officials about their take on the matter.