California Regulators Might Stop Lyft And Uber Driver Car-Rental Programs

Drivers for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft need relatively new cars, so a program where drivers lease new General Motors vehicles for $99 per week seemed like a good match. It’s being tested in Chicago now, and the companies plan to expand the program. They won’t be expanding it to California, though: regulators there will vote today on a proposal that specifically bans such programs in the state.

Competitor Uber also has a car rental program for aspiring drivers who either don’t have a car or who don’t have a new enough car to be allowed to drive for the service. Their version puts drivers in new vehicles from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and costs $210 per week.

The proposed rules for drivers would require the minimum length of a car rental to be four months for ride-hailing drivers, ruling out the week-by-week programs. The goal is to ensure that drivers are using their own cars, and not using the rental service to get around existing commercial vehicle laws.

The ride-hailing services, of course, don’t want the state to regulate their rental programs out of existence and raise the barrier of entry for new drivers.

“The proposed rules will hurt casual drivers who want to earn extra income but can’t afford to own a car,” a spokesperson for Lyft told Bloomberg Technology in an e-mail.

Other proposed regulations affecting ride-hailing apps would place restrictions on services intended to transport unaccompanied minors, require drivers to put logos on the front and back windows of their vehicles, and regulate how passengers who split a ride using built-in carpooling services would split the fare.

California Vote Could Put an End to Lyft-GM Car Leasing Program Before It Starts [Bloomberg Technology]

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