Lyft steering toward green light from CPUC

The saga continues for our friends at Lyft.

But this time around, they aren’t getting slapped with a fine or slammed by the greater taxi community for their seemingly unsafe practices.

Instead, San Francisco-based Lyft and the rest of its ride-share cohorts are on their way to getting properly regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

SF Appeal reported Thursday that the CPUC has just approved a “rule-making process” that will allow it to start “drafting regulations” to help keep companies such as Lyft, Uber, and SideCar functioning safely within state law.

Lyft COO and Co-Founder John Zimmer had nothing but good things to say to SFBay about Thursday’s news:

“This is a positive step forward, demonstrating that Lyft and the CPUC share the common belief that innovation paired with safety is what matters most.”

Regulations to be discussed include what types of insurance ride-sharing services should have — an issue that has plagued Lyft in recent months — and what proper compensation for drivers should be.

Zimmer said that putting a premium on safety is the main focus:

“Building a community that values safety as a top priority has enabled our platform to reach tens of thousands of users in our first few months.”

Lyft found itself in hot water in October of this year when the CPUC issued them a cease-and-desist letter along with a $20,000 fine. A primary complaint was that companies such as Lyft which use smartphone apps to connect passengers to drivers weren’t properly insuring their vehicles, and therefore putting their customers at risk.

Since then, the company has been working to find a common ground with the CPUC in order to keep their business running.

These next steps to fit ride-share companies within state regulations is a sure sign of progress. Added Zimmer:

“It shows that policymakers are listening to the Lyft community, and that they understand the important economic, environmental, and social benefits that platforms like Lyft bring to a city.”

The CPUC is planning to hold workshops and accept written commentary in its effort to regulate these companies. The process is expected to take up to six months.