California DMV backtracks on commercial registration of Uber and Lyft vehicles

California DMV backtracks on commercial registration of Uber and Lyft vehicles

The Department of Motor Vehicles has backtracked from an earlier decision which required the drivers working with ridesharing services Uber and Lyft to have commercial plates for their vehicles. On January 5, California DMW issued a memo saying that Lyft and Uber drivers were offering commercial services by offering ridesharing for profit. So, they were required to have commercial plates on their vehicles.

Some local drivers complied with DMV policy. Uber suspended the drivers who registered their vehicles commercially as it violates Uber’s own policy regarding ridesharing vehicles. According to policies, UberX drivers should have a non-commercial vehicle registration. In case of commercial vehicles, drivers are required to have UberBLACK account.

The Department of Motor Vehicles said that it will meet the regulators and representative of the companies to figure out a solution feasible for all parties. Uber and Lyft claim offer non-commercial ridesharing services, but their drivers actually compete with regular taxis. The local taxis in many states have complained to authorities regarding the undue advantage that Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services have.

In September 2014, California Public Utilities Commission said that Uber and Lyft offer split-the-fare scheme, which is illegal under California law.

In a statement, DMV director Jean Shiomoto said, “We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have. The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”

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