SC reps file bill to restore Uber operations

SC reps file bill to restore Uber operations

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina State representatives have filed a bill to allow ride-hailing company Uber to operate in South Carolina.

Bill H. 3414 was filed by Charleston Representatives Leon Stavrinakis, Peter McCoy, and others Thursday, asking for legal distinction between taxis and transportation networking companies such as Uber.

The state's Public Service Commission issued a cease and desist order against Uber on January 15, halting the companies operations until it has received all the licensing it needs to legally operate in South Carolina.

Officials say Uber had been operating without a license in South Carolina since July 2014, even though state law says a motor vehicle carrier needs to obtain a certificate before getting paid to transport people.

According to the proposed bill, transportation networks like Uber would be required to get a permit from the Office of Regulatory Staff, pay a permit fee, and have background checks and liability insurance for its drivers. Additionally, drivers of companies like Uber would only be allowed to pick up fares via their web-based applications, meaning they could not pick up customers without reservations or accept cash payment for services.

Stavrinakis also sent a letter Thursday to Public Service Commission Chief Clerk Jocelyn D. Boyd, requesting an emergency hearing to address the cease and desist order the agency issued to Uber last week.

"[Charleston County citizens] have expressed to me their desire for new, innovative, affordable, and safe transportation options and their full support of Uber," Stavrinakis wrote.

In the letter, Stavrinakis requests the Commission to hold an emergency hearing on the company's application "as soon as possible."

According to Stavrinakis, Uber and other ride-sharing services can provide an "innovative, modern, efficient, affordable, and customer-friendly" transportation alternative to the public.

The Public Service Commission says Uber is welcome to resume operations once they've met all criteria for operating a taxi company in the state.

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