Columbia, SC (WLTX) Police in South Carolina might start writing tickets for drivers for the smartphone app Uber, saying its drivers don't follow city codes for paid drivers.
"When officers detect or find those drivers that aren't in compliance with city codes, they would be charged with whatever violations the officer finds, mainly the vehicle not being inspected and also the chauffeur's permit, not having a chauffeur's permit issued by the police department," says Sgt. Derek Miller with the Columbia Police Department.
Uber is an app you can put on your phone that lets you request a ride. The app shows you which drivers are nearby so you can pick one. You can also see a picture of the drivers and read reviews of them. Your credit card information is already in the system so you don't need cash.
The service is available in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach.
The state Office of Regulatory Staff has asked the Public Service Commission to decide whether Uber drivers should be regulated by the PSC.
"As a general rule, if someone is transporting passengers over the highways of this state--the statute says the improved highways of this state--for compensation outside the city limits, then they come under the purview and the regulatory authority and the statutes and regs of the Public Service Commission and our law enforcement inspectors would be able to write tickets for them," says Dukes Scott, executive director of the Office of Regulatory Staff.
He says his office has gotten complaints from taxi companies who feel like Uber is taking away business without having to follow the same rules.
Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett says, "This is clearly an attempt to protect the taxi industry that has failed its customers in South Carolina. Preventing our driver partners from earning a living and getting people safely and reliably around town doesn't just hurt the residents and visitors, it hurts the cities. Uber is providing safer and cheaper transportation options and we're creating jobs throughout the state. We fully stand by our driver partners and will cover the cost of any unjust citation."
He says Uber is not a transportation company; it's a technology company that merely provides the app. It doesn't own any vehicles or hire drivers.
The Public Service Commission hearing to decide whether it should regulate Uber drivers will be on August 26th.