The California Department of Motor Vehicles is backing down from requiring drivers for “e-hail” services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to obtain commercial license plates after a firestorm of criticism. The DMV first brought up the policy in early January, citing a 1935 state law as justification.
But on Friday, the department had a change of mind, saying that the matter is now up for reconsideration. “We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have,” a DMV official said in a statement. “The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”
The financial implications would be enormous. E-hail drivers would need commercial insurance, for example, which is more of a hassle to get, particularly when most drivers are just part-timers. Some analysts say the commercial license plate requirement would be a huge roadblock for the e-hail industry. Should e-hail drivers be required to get commercial licenses?
William Rouse, general manager of Yellow Cab of Los Angeles and heads the taxi trade group, Taxicab Paratransit Association of California
Sunil Paul, CEO of Sidecar, a “e-hail” company founded in San Francisco, Calif.