The DMV isn’t doing itself any favors.
Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease-and-desist letters to Uber and Lyft, two popular ridesharing services, asserting both companies are breaking the law. The DMV previously fined Uber $26,000 and Lyft $9,000, but the department is doubling down on the crackdown. Rideshare drivers themselves now face civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation. Police in Arlington County have already announced they will help the DMV enforce the orders: “we will not turn a blind eye.”
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The DMV decision today hurts thousands of small business entrepreneurs who rely on the Uber platform to make a living, create new jobs and contribute to the economy – and it hurts the countless residents who rely on Uber to connect them with affordable, safe and reliable transportation alternatives.
Meanwhile, Lyft will “continue normal operations as we work to make policy progress,” noting “many of the current regulations surrounding taxis and limos were created before anything like Lyft’s peer-to-peer model was ever imagined.
Ridesharing is already starting to shake up the traditional cab industry. Instead of having to wait outside to hail a cab, customers use mobile apps to request a pick-up from Uber and Lyft. Lyft currently operates in 60 U.S. cities, while Uber has drivers around the globe in 30 countries and over 100 American cities.
The Institute for Justice is currently defending the rights of rideshare drivers in Chicago, where the city’s taxi industry has launched a lawsuit to try and force Uber, Lyft and Sidecar off the streets. IJ has long battled transportation cartels, liberalizing markets in Cincinnati, Denver, Milwaukee, Nashville and New York City.
— Nick Sibilla
Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice