Uber and Lyft Issued Cease and Desist By State of Virginia

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Virginia DMV issued cease-and-desist letters to Uber and Lyft on June 5th, citing violation of Virginia passenger carry laws.

Neither Lyft nor Uber has stated directly whether or not they will cease service at this time.

The letters specifically note VA codes 46.2-2000.1 (rideshare law) and 46.2-1400 (taxi service law), but the exact definition of how Uber and Lyft fit in to Virgina’s vehicle laws is hazy.

In Virginia, a rideshare service is legal as long as there’s no money being exchanged for the service. When money is exchanged, the rideshare becomes a taxi service, which requires a specific license in tandem with a personal driver’s license.

“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. The DMV decision today 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,” stated an Uber spokesperson.

Both Uber and Lyft classify themselves as technology services pairing riders with drivers, not taxi or rideshare services.

Both companies, however, do state that they are transportation services, though Virginia law does not have a defined chapter of legislation devoted to services that are classified outside of rideshare and taxi services.

“As many of the current regulations surrounding taxis and limos were created before anything like Lyft’s peer-to-peer model was ever imagined, we’re committed to continuing to work with state officials to craft new rules for this new industry,” stated a Lyft spokesperson.

Since neither company is technically classified nor licensed as a taxi or rideshare service, the current laws regarding rideshare and taxis don’t, technically, apply to Uber or Lyft. However, the Virginia DMV still, per the cease and desist letters, finds both companies in violation of state law regarding rideshare and taxi services.

Spokespeople from Lyft and Uber both stated that the companies have both been successful in Virginia and wish to continue to provide services to residents while working with the government to provide clear legislation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora.

When she isn’t editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures.

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