By City News Service
A split Los Angeles City Council voted against challenging a state regulation that gives smartphone-enabled rideshare services like Lyft and Uber permission to operate in California.
A city appeal of the state Public Utilities Commission -- a move proposed by City Councilman Paul Koretz -- failed on a 7-6 vote as today's deadline for appealing approached.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who supports the rideshare companies, had threatened to veto any decision to pursue an appeal.
Instead of appealing the rules, the City Council opted to pursue modifications to the rules while PUC works to fine-tune its regulations over the coming months.
They want the PUC to address the city's concerns over "insurance, safety, green house gas emissions, red-lining and access for people with disabilities as well as other concerns that may be raised by other members of this council," City Councilman Mike Bonin said.
Any proposed modifications likely would be discussed in the City Council's Transportation Committee, which Bonin chairs.
Bonin said the PUC should look into bringing "more clarity to the tangle of regulations" that splits jurisdiction of various types of transportation services between local and state agencies.
For example, the city has jurisdiction over taxis but not limousines. With the newly approved PUC rules, the city has no jurisdiction over the phone- app rideshare services.
Last month, the PUC signed off on regulations that classifies phone-app- enabled rideshare services as "transportation network companies." Such companies allow people in need of rides to use a downloadable smartphone app to make arrangements with those willing to drive them to their destinations, often for a fee.
Under the new rules, the rideshare companies must get a license from the PUC, require criminal background checks of drivers, create a driver training program, adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy on drug and alcohol use, buy commercial liability insurance policy with a minimum $1 million coverage and do a 19-point car inspection.
Opponents of the regulations had until today to submit their request to have the PUC reconsider the new rules, which were approved in September. The step is necessary to pursue future legal appeals in court, city officials said.
Officials with Yellow Cab said the company was appealing the rules. Cab company representatives said that the PUC regulations essentially legalizes "bandit taxi" companies.