On 24 Jan 2015
California DMV says Uber, Lyft cars must have commercial plates,
California DMV retracts memo requiring commercial plates for Uber, Lyft . In a statement released late Friday night, DMV officials said “there remains uncertainty” about the effect of the law described in the memo and “recent regulatory and statutory changes affecting ride share operators.”
“We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have,” the statement continued. “The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”
The agency had issued a memo earlier this month citing the California Vehicle Code, saying “any passenger vehicle used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit is a commercial vehicle.”
“Even occasional use of a vehicle in this manner requires the vehicle to be registered commercially,” the memo read.
The “reminder” of existing law, as a DMV spokesman put it earlier Friday, appeared to be addressing transport network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, whose drivers use their own cars, which are mostly registered as personal vehicles.
Some analysts had predicted the business implications, including requirements like commercial insurance, could be a game-changer for the embattled rideshare industry.
The memo – which was first reported by Buzzfeed – follows rules regulating TNCs, set by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2013. Those rules and state laws require TNC drivers to drive their own private vehicles, but don’t specify a particular type of registration.
Representatives of the rideshare groups told The Times on Friday that they didn't believe commercial plates should be required for part-time and occasional ridesharing drivers.
Related: Increased Liability Insurance Requirements for Ride Sharing Services.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring drivers in the burgeoning ride-sharing industry to carry more insurance, his office announced Wednesday.
The bill affects companies such as Uber and Lyft, which initially objected to legislation increasing insurance requirements for their drivers. The companies reversed course last month, announcing support for the bill after negotiations lowered the minimum cost of liability insurance they will have to carry to $200,000.
The regulation comes amid increasing popularity of services that allow people using a Web app to ferry passengers in their own cars for a fee.