Va. DMV Sends Cease and Desist Order to Uber and Lyft

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist letters to ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft Thursday. News4's Jackie Bensen reports. (Published Thursday, Jun 5, 2014)

    The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist letters to ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft Thursday.

    DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb wrote both companies should halt their "illegal operations" within the Commonwealth and notify their drivers.

    Holcomb wrote Uber and Lyft are illegal in the state because the companies profit from ride-sharing. The state is reviewing passenger carrier laws that would include ride-sharing companies, and plans to publish a report some time next year. Until then, Holcomb recommended the app-based services stop operating in the Commonwealth.

    Both Uber and Lyft have already received civil penalties. An Uber driver told News4's Jackie Bensen says he has never received complaints about ride-sharing.

    "There is no customer that I heard complain about Uber. People ask us to pick up their kids, they have that much trust in the safety [of Uber]," he said.

    The streets of Ballston were bustling Thursday night, and many bar-goers were shocked when they heard the news of the cease and desist.

    "I wouldn't know how I was getting home other than if I tried to flag a cab down, but there are hardly any public cabs around so that's why we all use Uber and Lyft," a woman who often uses the ride-share services told News4.

    In a letter sent to Uber uses in Virginia Friday, Uber managers maintained they would continue providing their service to the Commonwealth despite the letter.

    Chelsea Wilson with Lyft told News4 the company is willing to work with state officials to "craft new rules for this new industry."

    "Many of the current regulations surrounding taxis and limos were created before anything like Lyft's peer-to-peer model was ever imagined," Wilson said.

    Natalia Montalvo with Uber had a similar reaction.

    "This decision is not in the best interest of Uber partners, who have been using the technology to make a living, create new jobs and contribute to the economy – or residents who rely on Uber for access to affordable, reliable transportation alternatives," Montalvo wrote. "We look forward to continuing to work with the Virginia DMV to find a permanent home for ride-sharing in the Commonwealth."

    Uber has received similar cease and desist demands from officials in California and Massachusetts.