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  • Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are now operating in cities all over the world, but

  • they don't appear to follow any of the normal rules for taxis or car services. In fact,

  • they don't even have to register as a car service. So, what's going on? Are Uber and

  • Lyft even legal? Technically, Yes. They are legal. Primarily,

  • because they're not really car services, they're social networking services. All they do is

  • connect people who want rides with people who offer rides.

  • I'm sure they'd hate this analogy, but think of them as a huge phone book with all of the

  • possible drivers listed by proximity to you. Like with the phone book, it's on the people

  • looking for rides to choose which drivers they want, and it's up to the drivers to operate

  • their business within the law. That last part is actually tougher than you'd

  • think, and it's where all of Uber's and Lyft's legal issues are currently stemming from.

  • Ride-sharing services can't guarantee that their drivers are operating within the law,

  • because those drivers are independent contractors. BUT, if they want to stay open they still

  • need drivers that comply with the laws, so they have been taking steps in that direction.

  • To be a driver, you need to have a background check and at least a million dollars in insurance

  • coverage. And that applies to almost every passenger-carrying car in any city. But that's

  • where Uber and Lyft stop. In most cities you need MORE than just those two requirements.

  • In Pittsburg, for example, you also need a Certificate Of Public Convenience. Most rideshare

  • drivers don't have that, and as a result - Pittsburgh issued a cease and desist order on both Uber

  • and Lyft, just before this past fourth of July. Technically, they stated public safety

  • concerns, but it was really about non-compliance. Uber and Lyft are also trying to operate in

  • cities with laws that regulate and benefit taxi companies. Cabbies in London, for example,

  • sued Uber, because only certified cabbies in that city are allowed to have metering

  • systems inside their cars.

  • Uber fired back, claiming that they don't use a metering system, and the technology

  • they do use, isn't even based inside of the car. It's a complicated array of GPS and cell

  • phone technology. And because of that, the London courts ruled on behalf of Uber. These

  • are the sorts of minor obstacles Uber has to overcome, and it's the reason they keep

  • popping all over the news. So, that's the general run down. Uber and

  • Lyft are legal, but their drivers may not be - and it's up to each individual city to

  • either adjust, shut ride-sharing down, or enable their drivers to comply. It's gonna

  • be an ongoing issue, and it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are now operating in cities all over the world, but

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