Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Taxi drivers in Los Angeles will be required to use electronic hailing apps to compete with newer ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, under an order approved Thursday by the Taxicab Commission.

Taxi companies will have to sign up with a certified e-hail app by Aug. 20, according to the order.

In the meantime, a working group will be formed to create regulation for a certification system for e-hail apps that cater to the traditional taxi industry, such as Curb and Flywheel. The group will need to report back to the Taxicab Commission with its recommendations.

The order came out of a request by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the commission to “take all steps necessary to … level the playing field” between traditional taxicabs and ride-share companies, which use smartphone apps to connect drivers to riders, commission President Eric Speigelman said in December.

City officials contend e-hail regulations are needed to give taxicabs — which must comply with strict city regulations — an ability to compete ride- share companies that have “superior technology” and benefit from “lighter regulation.”

Ride-share companies are regulated by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which recently signed off on a set of rules for the phone-app- enabled rideshare services, including criminal backgrounds, a driver training program and commercial liability insurance policy.

But such companies are increasingly coming under fire by local jurisdictions. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey sued Uber in December, alleging the company makes false or misleading statements about the quality of the background checks it conducts on its drivers and does not have the authorization it requires to be operating at airports.

City News Service

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