Uber is an amazing company. It markets itself as being your own personal driver. You download the app on your smart phone in order to request an Uber driver, who generally takes you wherever you want to go. It's awesome, but all good things come to end. And, when government gets involved, really good things come to an end.
Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist orders today to Lyft and Uber, telling the two ride services that they must stop operating in violation of state law or face fines against their part-time drivers.
The DMV had already issued civil penalties against the companies in April -- $26,000 for Uber and $9,000 for Lyft -- for trips that their drivers provided in Virginia despite warnings by the state agency that Virginia law does not allow their business model. The companies are on the leading edge of a trend in which mobile apps are used to connect passengers with part-time drivers who use their personal vehicles outside of the regulations of a traditional taxi service.
The DMV is studying Virginia's motor carrier laws with an eye toward legislative changes next year that could allow Lyft and Uber to legally operate in the state. Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said last week that he liked the companies' business models, but until the law is changed, they are violating it.
Additionally, the DMV has made known the car services that are approved, registered, and insured by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia DMV said it's a matter of safety since Uber and Lyft aren't on the approved list. Personally, I've yet to receive a ride where I didn't feel safe in an Uber car.
Sadly, in LA, an Uber driver had charges of kidnapping brought against him by one of his customers, but were dropped when authorities couldn't find the woman who made the claim; she gave them a bogus home address.
In the meantime, it looks likes folks, especially those in the DC area, will have to take the Metro into the city.
I'd rather eat my own hand.