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Apr. 9, 2014 12:15 pm

Bill to exempt Uber, Lyft from common carrier status fails to pass

The legislation's purpose was to "carve out a framework, by the creation of a new, separate regulatory system within the state’s public utilities law, that would allow ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Maryland and in accordance with the state’s Public Service Commission."

(Photo courtesy of Uber)

It appears that the future of ridesharing startups Uber and Lyft is still in question in Maryland.

The Transportation Network Services legislation that was being considered by the Maryland General Assembly did not pass, according to a spokeswoman for state Sen. Bill Ferguson, who sponsored the Maryland Senate’s version of the Transportation Network Services bill.

As Technical.ly Baltimore reported in March, the legislation’s purpose was to “carve out a framework, by the creation of a new, separate regulatory system within the state’s public utilities law, that would allow ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Maryland and in accordance with the state’s Public Service Commission.”

Uber and Lyft teamed up to lobby in favor of the legislation, which Uber deemed “critical” after a report issued by the Public Service Commission’s staff counsel in December 2013 said that Uber “operates a motor vehicle-for-hire service and is therefore a ‘common carrier’ subject to Commission regulation.”

Read Technical.ly Baltimore’s coverage of the Transportation Network Services bill.

According to Ferguson’s spokeswoman, the Senate finance committee will be telling the Public Service Commission “that they need to regulate Lyft and Uber differently than taxi cabs.”

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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  • pitbullstew

    po-po travis all that money to a lobbyist and such out the window yet again in yet another state huh? how frustrating for the lad don’cha think? now, about that second fedral law suit filed yesterday this time in houston texas against uber and lyft?