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Dec. 4, 2012: CPUC Proposes to Evaluate Ridesharing Services Via New Proceeding

The CPUC released a proposal on Dec. 4, 2012, which, if approved by the CPUC’s Commissioners at its December 20, 2012, Voting Meeting, would open a proceeding to protect public safety and encourage innovation in the transportation of passengers over public highways for compensation.

Read the Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR).

New businesses such as Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber have presented the CPUC, which regulates charter-party carriers, with a situation not encountered before: the use of mobile communications and social networks to connect individuals wishing to offer and receive low cost and convenient, sometimes shared, transportation. 

The CPUC has a responsibility for determining whether and how public safety might be affected by these new businesses.  The proposal issued is not to stifle innovation and the provision of new services that consumers want, but rather to assess public safety risks, and to ensure that the safety of the public is not compromised in the operation of these new business models.  New technology and innovation requires that the CPUC continually review its regulations and policies.  This review would ensure that the law and the CPUC’s safety oversight reflect the current state of the industry and that state regulations are just and fair for all passenger carriers. 

If the proceeding is approved by the Commissioners, all interested parties are encouraged to participate to ensure that regulation is not a hindrance, but continues to be the safety net that the public can rely on for its protection.  The issues that would be examined concern the CPUC’s regulations relating to passenger carriers, ridesharing, and online-enabled transportation services.  The CPUC seeks comment on issues including consumer protection and safety implications of the new methods for arranging transportation services; whether and how the new transportation business models differ from longstanding forms of ridesharing; and the new transportation business models’ potential impact on insurance and transportation access.

If the proceeding is initiated by the Commissioners, a decision is expected within six months.

Last Modified: 12/4/2012

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