California regulator sets rules for ridesharing companies

The California Public Utilities Commission approved ridesharing companies early this year, but it offered only a few temporary guidelines while it worked on a formal rule set. Today, the regulator has published those definitive rules. Companies like Lyft, SideCar and Uber now have to get a CPUC license to operate under a new Transportation Network Company category. To maintain that license, they'll have to run background checks, train drivers, hold a minimum level of insurance, inspect cars and drop employees who abuse alcohol or drugs. The requirements won't necessarily eliminate tension with Los Angeles and other cities that believe they have jurisdiction over taxi-like services. However, the CPUC's move gives California ridesharing companies a degree of comfort -- they can keep operating in many cities without fear of being shut down.