SC, New York playing good cop-bad cop with Uber, Lyft

Ridehailing Apps Getting Some Love From Haley, Restrictions From NYC

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley urged senators Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow Uber to continue operating in the state past this summer. South Carolina risks losing Uber's ride-sharing services entirely if the Legislature doesn't act, Haley said in a letter to senators. The letter said Uber was an "innovative, cutting-edge" company.

"We cannot allow this to happen to us. Uber's departure from South Carolina will be a step backwards for our state, depriving our citizens of safe, reliable transportation and hundreds of jobs," Haley wrote in the letter, provided to The Associated Press.

In January, the Public Service Commission issued a cease-and-desist order stopping the app-based service offered then in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and Greenville. Following criticism from Haley and legislators of both parties, the commission reversed course two weeks later and granted a temporary license through June 30, with the expectation that legislators would deal with the issue.

A bill that allows Uber's continued existence passed the House in March. Senators gave tentative approval last week but postponed all debate on proposed amendments. The bill's advancement requires a second approval by the Senate. Only four days remain in the regular legislative session.

Uber allows users to request a ride through a smartphone app which connects them to an available driver. All transactions are done electronically through the app and no cash is exchanged. Haley said South Carolina needs to join the 20 other states that have passed legislation allowing ridesharing.

Meanwhile, in New York, Uber and Lyft are pushing back against a New York City effort to regulate app-based ride-hailing services. The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission says the new rules being debated Thursday are minor adjustments to existing regulations. Commission Chairwoman Meera Joshi said at a public hearing that the panel's goal is safety, accountability and car availability. The proposed rule changes would address fares, the availability of wheelchair-accessible cars and restrictions on picking up passengers at airports.

San Francisco-based Uber and Lyft say the regulations would discourage innovation. Michael Allegretti of Uber said the rules would be "crushing" to Uber's New York drivers. A few dozen Uber drivers chanted "We love Uber!" outside the commission's Manhattan headquarters before the hearing. The commission may vote on the regulations at its June 18 meeting.

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The AP contributed to this report.

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