SACRAMENTO -- California regulators have approved the nation's and state's first rules for fast-growing ride-sharing companies that connect passengers to drivers via smartphones.
The Public Utilities Commission voted 5 to 0 to let the services -- such as Lyft Inc., Sidecar and Uber Technologies Inc. -- continue to operate, if they comply with basic safety and insurance requirements.
The three companies provide transportation for a fee or donation, connecting paying passengers with drivers who use their own vehicles.
The proposed decision gives a greenlight for ride-sharing in California and should set an example for cities and states across the country to provide consumers with a new way to get around, supporters said.
Under the proposal, the PUC would have jurisdiction over ride-sharing under a new category of businesses called transportation network companies. The agency would also issue licenses to the services.
The decision is expected to preempt efforts by California cities to oversee or even ban ride-sharing under their authority to license taxi cab firms.