Virginia Sends Cease And Desist Letters To Uber and Lyft

The Virginia Dept. Of Motor Vehicles has sent cease and desist letters to car services Uber and Lyft. I’ve been a big fan of Uber for a while now and I don’t expect them to go away. But, it has to be frustrating trying to establish themselves in certain markets amidst the minefield of legislation and special interests who are fighting against them.

From this report and others it sounds like Uber is working with Virginia DMV to change the legislation in the state to allow them to operate legally. They’ve now responded saying they’re not going to stop operating but hope the DMV will continue their process to change current policy. That’s a bit of a dangerous course but I don’t know that Virginia has an effective way to stop them.

I’m not terribly surprised by the move since I was recently harassed by the police getting into an Uber car at Dulles airport. I’m not sure how this will affect Uber driver’s ability to pick folks up from the airports. I’ll be sorely disappointed if Uber goes away and I have to stand in hour long cab lines.

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  1. Currently St. Louis has an order in place against Lyft keeping them from operating at STL. I assume this will get settled in court at some level like the AirBnB’s as well.

    1. Dan, I agree it likely ends up in court. Isn’t an airport technically federal land? I wondered this at IAD, how VA DMV had authority. Maybe the airport land only constitutes terminal and runways.

  2. Although airports are federally regulated, that doesn’t mean that the Feds own the land. Think of the Interstate highways as a similar example – they’re built to federal standards, but there’s no Federal Highway Patrol driving around pulling people over.

    A given airport authority may cede/extend its right to police based on memoranda of understanding. Back to the Interstate example, there are places where both city and state highway patrols can pull people over, but some where only the city or only the state has that power.

    It’s worth noting that Uber and Lyft are great for customers, but they’re undercutting the established, regulated taxi business. One can easily imagine the deleterious consequences of letting this go on without some legal framework to control safety and level of service.

    1. Chris, thanks for the info on federal authority. Makes sense and had I thought about it a few more minutes might have realized that. I agree there needs to be some framework to insure safety but at least at IAD and DCA, the demand for taxis far outweighs supply frequently. And, the condition of the existing cab fleet isn’t something I would feel comfortable declaring safe. Current system broken.

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