Virginia issues cease and desist to Uber and Lyft

By Lori Sandoval, Tech Times | June 6, 9:40 PM

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The state government of Virginia ordered Uber and Lyft to stop its current operations until the companies have complied with state laws. Will the app-based, for-hire car companies comply?
(Photo : Uber)

There is no shifting of gears when it comes to Virginia state's decision to pursue regulating app-based, car-for-hire services Uber and Lyft, as the state government’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sent cease and desist letters to the two companies on Thursday.

Said letters by Commissioner Richard Holcomb of DMV in Virginia ordered Lyft and Uber to stop its current operations considered illegal by the state, after having violated state laws. Otherwise, the companies would face penalties.

"I am once again making clear that [Uber/Lyft] must cease and desist operating in Virginia until it obtains proper authority," Holcomb says in the letters.

The letters indicated that DMV has been prodding Uber for six months and Lyft for four months already to comply with state laws, and yet official statements from the concerned private companies implied another story.

“Uber has been providing Virginians with safe, affordable and reliable transportation options for months and has continued to work in good faith with the DMV to create a regulatory framework for ridesharing,” Taylor Bennett says in a statement to Washington Post. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Virginia DMV to find a permanent home for ridesharing in the Commonwealth.”

“We’ve reviewed state transportation codes and believe we are following the applicable rules,” Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson also says in a statement. “We’ll continue normal operations as we work to make policy progress.

Spokesperson Natalia Montalvo of Uber, meanwhile, laments that DMV’s decision “hurts thousands of small business entrepreneurs who rely on the Uber platform to make a living, create new jobs and contribute to the economy -- and it hurts the countless residents who rely on Uber to connect them with affordable, safe and reliable transportation alternatives."

Recall that the DMV also issued civil penalties against these two companies in April for allegedly operating without having secured proper permits from the state. Uber was slapped with $26,000 penalty and Lyft for $9,000.

Further research shows there were other similar incidents recorded against Uber and other app-based ride services. Uber, in particular, surpassed such resistance in New York and currently runs the service with some drivers licensed by Taxi and Limousine Commission — but unfortunately, not in Spain and especially in Paris where violent protests from taxi drivers were seen. In Maryland, Uber is currently on appeal to a state decision that requires the filing of an application that would allow the company to operate as a for-hire carrier. Washington D.C. took a breather with the state currently studying ways to allow these for-hire car services to operate freely and legally in the area.

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