Ride-sharing service company Uber continues to draw worldwide attention both positively and negatively. In Nevada, the company is facing a legal battle over issues of passenger safety, opposition from local taxi drivers, and compliance with state laws and regulation.
Uber is built on the concept of offering rides to passengers who summon their cars through the use of apps on their smartphones. It revolutionizes the public's riding experience with a cheaper and more convenient transport option. The company claims that its service is very much different from those offered by local taxi companies, which have passengers hailing a cab from the roadside.
Last month, Nevada's attorney general filed a lawsuit against Uber based on an argument that the company's system of using private cars to carry passengers for a fee infringes the taxi companies' franchise rights and places the taxi drivers in a compromised situation when it comes to adhering to state regulatory provision.
Washoe District Judge Scott Freeman gave in to the state's recommendation for a preliminary injunction prior to an impending trial over concerns that people from Nevada may be facing a huge risk on their safety. Concerns over safety emerged because of the company's refusal to comply with state laws that regulate commercial vehicles and transportation services.
"It's unfortunate that Nevada is the first state in the nation to temporarily suspend Uber," stated Eva Behrend, Uber spokeswoman. She added that the shutdown would affect almost 1,000 jobs. "We remain committed to working with Nevada's leaders to create a permanent regulatory framework that affords Nevadans the flexibility and innovation offered by Uber."
Uber faces strong opposition from taxi companies and some local officials, arguing that the transport company is not subjected to the same stringent regulations that are faced by traditional cabs. Likewise, insurance companies believe that Uber drivers should carry more expensive insurance policies.
Consumers have lauded Uber's ride-sharing services and commented that it's absolutely cheaper, more accessible and more efficient. It's also the number one option among riders who come from underserved neighborhoods.
Uber maintains that its service cannot be categorized as public since it is offered solely to members of the online community as opposed to the services offered by a taxi driver who would literally pick up any passenger on the street.
"Just because you don't wait on the curb doesn't mean you're not available to the public," said Chief Deputy Attorney General Gina Session. "Uber's approach is to start operations in open violation of the law in hopes a groundswell of public opinion will override the regulatory concerns."