GARDENA (CBSLA.com) — Just three months after the city’s taxi czar sent “cease and desist” letters to three of the region’s major ride sharing companies, Mayor Eric Garcetti is expressing support for the start-ups.
Ride-share companies like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft have exploded in popularity in Los Angeles by offering ride-sharing through smartphone apps at a price.
But taxi drivers have voiced concerns that a lack of background checks, safety inspections, insurance and other regulatory actions could leave passengers at risk.
On June 24, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Taxicab Administrator Thomas Drischler issued “cease and desist” letters, urging the companies to stop their operations. But Garcetti, who was sworn in as mayor June 30, said Monday he disagrees with efforts to halt operations in the Southland.
“To shut them down I think is the wrong move,” he said.
“I think it’s great that people have other options now for transport,” Garcetti said. “We don’t want it to displace taxis, we want taxis to have as fair a playing field, but also this is convenient for people who sometimes taxis don’t go to.”
William Rouse, general manager at Yellow Cab Los Angeles, said ride-share services are not complying with the regulations in place for taxis.
“It’s an issue of a level playing field, it’s an issue of compliance with the law, it’s an issue of safety,” said William Rouse, general manager at Yellow Cab Los Angeles. “They have no permits, they don’t background check their drivers, they don’t have adequate insurance. They’re basically a form of electronic hitchhiking.”
Drischler declined an interview request.
California’s Public Utilities Commission could rule on the regulations governing ride-sharing companies as early as Thursday.