Los Angeles Business Journal

Why L.A. Gave Red-Lights to Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar

By Tom Dotan Tuesday, June 25, 2013

But Drischler said LADOT determined that even with the provisional agreements, these services still violate a section of the Municipal Code that prohibits non-permitted taxicab services from operating within the city.

Though Drischler insisted the decision did not come at the behest of the city's taxicab unions, they have been pushing against the ride-sharing companies for some time. Earlier today, taxi drivers organized a protest in downtown L.A., driving their cabs around city hall and honking their horns.

The issue is scheduled to be discussed in front of the city's Transportation Committee on Wednesday, though Drischler said it's largely informational rather than a matter of policy discussion.

For now, he said it will take a change in the state's laws to allow for the ride-sharing services to operate locally. In other words, no changes on a local level will bring Lyft, et al, back.

Drischler did say a ride originating outside the city of Los Angeles would not be subject to this ruling; a person getting picked up in Santa Monica need not worry about any action from the city.

Still to weigh-in on the ride-sharing controversy is the soon-to-be-inaugurated mayor. Eric Garcetti ran on a platform that heavily emphasized the city’s high tech culture, and received strong support from the region's burgeoning sector.

Many members of L.A.'s tech scene have already implored Garcetti to lift the city's ban on ride-sharing, and a petition to that effect is already circulating.

Garcetti, who is currently out of the country on vacation, was unavailable for comment.

For the DOT’s part, Drischler insisted that the move is by no-means anti-tech.

"Taxicab companies are extremely sophisticated when it comes to tech. All have GPS in their cars, many have phone apps and security cameras. So they’re no slouches in the tech department," Drischler said. "This isn't an anti-tech initiative. It’s strictly anti-illegal operations."

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